FRONT PAGE BREAKING NEWS
News in support of successful living: business & economy, health & wellness, education, youth, the arts, politics, sustainability & social trends. Featuring news of the west side of Vancouver Island.
Wednesday, December 13 ~ LANGFORD. A big cheque was delivered to the Goldstream Food Bank in Langford today. The generous $10,000 donation from the Westshore Developers Association and the Langford Economic Development Commission (EDC) was announced last week, and today under bright sunny skies the official presentation was made.
Receiving the ceremonial cheque on behalf of the Goldstream Food Bank was the organization’s long-time President and Christmas Hamper Fund chair Gayle Ireland. Making the presentation was Ron Coutre, president, Westshore Developers Association and City of Langford Mayor Stew Young on behalf of the Langford EDC.
The busy food bank on Station Road in Langford will process 650 to 700 hampers to individuals and families in need over five days ahead of Christmas. In addition to lots of non-perishable food items and fresh produce, each hamper includes a gift card that can be used for a turkey, ham or other entree for Christmas, says Ireland. Handing out the hampers will be members of the Langford Fire Department, the Coast Guard, and other volunteers. “Everything will be loaded into vehicles for the people receiving the hampers,” says Ireland, clearly proud of the work of the volunteers.
“This $10,000 donation is so generous,” said the food bank president. Ireland explained that it essentially turns into $20,000 worth of food because of discounts given to the Goldstream Food Bank. “And we’re a financially healthy organization because we save for a rainy day.” She reminded everyone that no one gets paid to operate the food bank.
“Doing this was an easy decision,” said Coutre, who said at a meeting of the developers and economic development committee that they all wanted to give back. Stew Young was enthusiastic about reporting success and goodwill: “Everybody’s doing well and it’s a great time to this to happen. Especially in Langford’s 25th year since incorporation, everybody’s on board to do this.” With Coutre piping in: “Especially at this time of year.”
This $10,000 donation was the largest of a collection of donations made by the developers and the City this holiday season. $3,000 was donated to the Langford Legion, with $1,000 to Another Brick in Nepal’s earthquake relief, $1,000 to Santa’s Anonymous, $1,000 to the Children’s Health Foundation, and $1,000 to the Victoria Conservatory of Music.
Monday, December 11 ~ VICTORIA. Today December 11, 2017, the BC government has committed to completing construction of the Site C hydroelectric dam. The cost of the project on the Peace River near Fort St John in northern BC is now estimated at $10.7 billion (up from the original 2014 estimate of $8.775 billion by the previous government).
Site C will provide 1,100 megawatts (MW) of capacity, and produce about 5,100 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity each year – enough energy to power the equivalent of about 450,000 homes per year in BC.
In making the announcement, Premier John Horgan stated that while Site C should never have been started, the project has been pushed past the point of no return over the past few years. To cancel would have meant asking British Columbians to take on almost $4 billion in debt with nothing in return for the people of the province and, even worse, with a high risk of cuts to services and projects families count on. Horgan reiterated his campaign promise to work hard to help keep life affordable for British Columbians.
However, the electricity load (demand) forecast used to underlie the decision to continue with Site C includes a realistic and responsible recognition of greater electrification in BC homes and industries in the future, especially as carbon emission reduction is a socioeconomic and political goal. The forecast by Deloitte as commissioned by the former government was said to have not incorporated any enhanced electrification of the economy.
Much of the increased future demand is likely to be required by the time Site C is completed and its power comes onstream in 2024. However, today the government said there will be surplus at first, and it will be sold to create revenues. The remaining shortfall between costs and revenues will be made up by electricity consumers (aka ratepayers).
The government has announced a Site C turnaround plan to contain costs, provide enhanced project oversight, and expand benefits to people and communities. Government says it will be putting in place enhanced oversight to ensure final costs are at or below $10.7 billion.
If the Site C project had been cancelled, losses would have meant insufficient funds for the things the BC NDP promised to BC voters in the 2017 campaign including more schools, hospitals and highways as well as expanded child care support. Cancellation would have produced an immediate rate hike of 12% on BC consumers all at once in 2020 without any benefit other than servicing debts and cancellation obligations.
In his public announcement today in the Library Rotunda at the BC Parliament Buildings in Victoria, Premier Horgan delivered “with a heavy heart” his decision to proceed with the Site C hydroelectric project. He was flanked by Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy George Heyman and Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Michelle Mungall.
In a way, he had no choice but to give the green light to Site C. It was the goal and intention of the previous BC Liberal government to get the project past the point of no return (notably for contracts with workers, businesses and some First Nations), and they succeeded. The only reason to have started the project in the first place is to keep up with electricity demand into the future, but for years even that premise has been debated.
Not only does the continuation of the project present a long-term financial commitment including continual electricity rate increases for everyone in BC, it presents a quagmire of political challenges for the BC NDP government. Many groups who fought hard against Site C — including environmental, food sustainability and indigenous — feel they are on the losing end of this decision. And the BC Greens (with three MLAs who hold the balance of power in the current NDP-led minority government) are saying they feel betrayed. All of this sets up a myriad of immediate tensions and possibly some political brick walls in the future (including that the NDP caucus was divided on the issue, and that Energy Minister Michelle Mungall could face tensions in her constituency at the next provincial election).
A media briefing ahead of Horgan’s announcement began with this: “After review by BCUC, meeting with Treaty 8 First Nations, advice from independent experts and lengthy deliberation, Cabinet has made the difficult decision to complete Site C construction.”
Right out of the gate the presentation showed that hydro rates have been “rising significantly” since 2003. In 2014, a 5-year package of rate hikes would have seen rates were go up 28.5%; four of the past five years saw hefty increases loaded on the backs of consumers – notably 9% in the first year (followed by 6%, 4% and 3.5% this year); for 2018 the BC NDP government has issued a reprieve on the previously approved 3% increase.
With Site C going ahead, increases for electricity usage will occur year after year – up about 30% over 10 years (2019 to 2028). The government says hydro rates in BC are still relatively low compared to other provinces and cities in Canada and North America. Highly industrialized areas like Ontario and California have among the highest rates. Quebec has the lowest.
So-called ‘new power’ (from Site C) will cost $60/MWh to produce, compared to $32/MWh from the present generation system. The elephant in the room is the cost of energy production having been privatized under the Gordon Campbell BC Liberals back in the early 2000s — private companies that produce power and feed it into the grid are costing BC Hydro $100/MWh. And the share of supply by Independent Power Producers (IPP) is growing, which continues to push up the cost of electricity for British Columbians.
Studies apparently show that where the sources of power are varied in a jurisdiction – including hydro, fossil fuel, solar and wind, and nuclear, that the cost of power to produce power is somewhat less strident where hydro takes the lead.
The Site C decision was a complex equation, which Horgan said today was the most difficult in his 30 years in public service and politics. He knows all too well who he needs to please, and who he has disappointed. Included in the decision by Horgan and his cabinet was that shareholders who have invested in the expansion of electricity in BC will expect a good return on investment. If shareholders are spooked, BC’s bond rating could go down and that would affect many other aspects of the provincial budget.
Horgan said in his announcement today that BC Hydro had been “raided” by the previous government in order to produce a balanced BC budget. Part of cleaning up the mismanagement of BC Hydro was to appoint a new Chair. In one of his first actions as the new Premier, in mid-July Kenneth Peterson was appointed to replace Brad Bennett who was one of BC Liberal Leader Christy Clark’s election campaign advisers and president of real estate investment firm McIntosh Properties) and a few more directors considered more qualified will still be appointed, it was stated today by government.
To “lessen the burden” on BC Hydro and on British Columbians, Horgan announced some mitigating actions such as creating a food security fund to ensure we’re increase the productivity of agricultural land, and making it more viable to farm in the Peace and across BC. Reopening standing offer so indigenous people can build clean renewable energy and sell it back into the grid. More training opportunities for local businesses and workers (much better than the 49 apprentices we have in place today). And a new oversight committee to make sure that the current budget is met in the next number of years.
Horgan said he and his colleagues made the Site C decision upon finding themselves in a situation where they had to accept realities, “not as we wish it to be”. Horgan said: “It’s not the project we would have favoured, and not the project we would have started. But we’re three years in. It must be completed to meet the objectives our government has set.” He said the costs can be recovered “over a long period of time by the sale of electricity” which of course includes rate increases for consumers.
To those who Horgan expects will be disappointed by the government’s decision today on Site C, he said today: “I respect the strength of your convictions. I share your determination to protect BC farmland. Decisions must be done in tandem with indigenous peoples but those decisions have passed (as negotiated by the previous government).”
Knowing he was disappointing ‘family and friends, Horgan said that “proceeding is the best way forward” but the decision was not an easy one: “We do it with a heavy heart. But we have to focus on the future and on delivering for people.” ~ WSV
TECHNICAL and TIMELINE BACKGROUND: The Site C Clean Energy Project (Site C) will be a third dam and hydroelectric generating station on the Peace River in northeast BC. Site C will provide 1,100 megawatts (MW) of capacity, and produce about 5,100 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity each year – enough energy to power the equivalent of about 450,000 homes per year in BC. The Site C project received environmental approvals from the federal and provincial governments in October 2014, then got the green light from the Government of BC in December 2014. Construction of the project started in summer 2015 and will be completed in 2024. After a review of Site C by the British Columbia Utilities Commission in the fall of 2017, the B.C. Government chose to continue construction on the project. Site C will be a source of clean, reliable and affordable electricity for more than 100 years.
Sunday, December 10 ~ VICTORIA (posted at 6 pm). Premier John Horgan is ready to announce his decision about whether or not to proceed with construction of the Site C hydroelectric project. He will make the announcement in Victoria tomorrow, Monday December 11.
Update later Sunday evening (posted at 11:30 pm): For some reason, longtime political journalist Keith Baldrey thought it necessary to upstage the Premier and tonight leak out that Site C will go ahead. Professional journalists need to do better than that. So the project is going ahead. But without details in the ‘scoop’ (as to why the go-ahead decision was made), there is really no benefit to the public to give a half-day’s advance notice. Ethics in journalism still matter.
A month ago, when pressed about his decision whether to proceed with or stop the Site C hydroelectric project, Premier Horgan replied that it is a $12 billion dollar project and that if it proceeds it will affect contracts, indigenous interests in the area, and individuals.
If the project is cancelled, the cost would be about $4 billion (over $2 billion already spent or committed, plus another $1.8 billion to remediate the site).
“Site C is over budget and off schedule,” said Premier Horgan, adding it’s something he’s been saying “for some time”. He reiterated having run on a platform of affordability for British Columbians. He said it was “bad policy making from the start” for former Premier Clark to try to “get the project past the point of no return”.
Having information made public about Site C decision-making is something Horgan promised during the 2017 election campaign, and he seemed pleased that the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) report was made available to the public last month.
At present, Horgan says there is an oversupply of electricity in the North American market. He says the estimates by BC Hydro for future electricity demand are wrong. However, the jury may be out on that, given the increase in use of electric cars and charging massive batteries (in size and/or number) for other uses in the modern digital age. While alternative energy sources are moving forward in various ways, there is no way of telling whether natural gas, biomass heat capture, wind power and other methods will be far enough along should a growing population require more electricity in five to 10 years time.
“It’s not an easy choice or decision. I will be grappling with it for the next couple of weeks,” Horgan said on November 8. And now the time for announcement of his decision has arrived (Monday December 11).
Read the West Shore Voice News editorial about the impact of the new BC NDP government on the lives of British Columbians, page 2 in the December 8, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News.
Friday, December 8 ~ BC. Tipping a hat to Canadian winter sport, this week the BC Government announced a contribution of $110,000 to support the upcoming national skating championships by helping bring some of the biggest names in Canadian figure skating to Vancouver.
Taking place at the Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Sports Centre at the University of British Columbia January 8 – 14, 2018, the week will also be high-profile exposure for Vancouver and Canada’s west coast and a winter tourism draw for people from all over BC (tickets $19.99/day Jan 8-11 up to $40-75 for final days; $10 at the gate to watch junior and senior practices).
The event is an Olympic-qualifier for Canada’s team at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in South Korea. The championships will feature about 250 skaters, competing in the men, women, and pair ice dance disciplines. About 8,000 spectators are expected to attend, with thousands more throughout Canada watching via CTV’s live broadcast.
The anticipated economic activity generated by the competition is approximately $6 million, said a Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture news release on December 8.
The following policy decisions were shaped by feedback provided by individuals and municipalities who participated in the engagement (48,951 British Columbians, and 141 local and Indigenous governments):
- Minimum age – British Columbia will set the minimum age to possess, purchase and consume cannabis at 19 years old. A minimum age of 19 is consistent with BC’s minimum age for alcohol and tobacco and with the age of majority in BC.
- Wholesale distribution of cannabis – Like other provinces, BC will have a government-run wholesale distribution model. The BC Liquor Distribution Branch (LDB) will be the wholesale distributor of non-medical cannabis in BC.
- Retail of cannabis – The Province anticipates establishing a retail model that includes both public and private retail opportunities and will share details regarding the model in early 2018.
Legalization of non-medical cannabis in Canada is anticipated to start July 1, 2018 following the passage of federal legislation in the new year.
“Looking at the responses received, it’s clear that British Columbians support the priorities of protecting young people, health and safety, keeping the criminal element out of cannabis and keeping roads safe, which will guide the Province in developing BC’s regulatory framework for non-medical cannabis,” said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth.
From September 25 to November 1 of this year, the public and stakeholders were asked to share their input and expertise on a range of issues related to the regulation of non-medical cannabis in BC, including minimum age, personal possession, public consumption, drug-impaired driving, personal cultivation, wholesale distribution and retail models. Most of the public input was received online.
The policy decisions announced today also reflect the feedback received from the local government members of the Joint Provincial-Local Government Committee on Cannabis Regulation (JCCR) and are endorsed by the Union of BC Municipalities executive.
“We thank all British Columbians who provided their input during the important public and stakeholder engagement process,” said Farnworth.
“We will continue to consider your opinions as we further develop policy and legislation that is in the best interests of this province, ensuring a made-in-BC approach to the legalization of non-medical cannabis that will keep our roads and communities safe, protect young people, and promote public health and safety.”
The provincial government says it “still has a number of key decisions to make as it prepares for the legalization of cannabis”. These decisions “will be informed by the feedback collected through the public and stakeholder engagement” but there will be further consultation with local and Indigenous governments and other key stakeholders.
Link: Cannabis Regulation in B.C.: What We Heard report on public and stakeholder engagement: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/BCcannabisregulation/
Monday, December 4 ~ LANGFORD. After hosting his own open house at his constituency office this evening, BC Premier John Horgan dropped into the holiday season open house at Langford council chambers.
Saying he moved to Langford 25 years ago, Horgan says Langford has been “transformative” for him: “I raised my family here, became a member of legislature here, and became the premier here.”
As part of recognizing 25 years of municipal service by Mayor Stew Young and Councillors Denise Blackwell and Winnie Sifert, the premier called Langford’s success “an extraordinary accomplishment”.
“it’s absolutely unparalleled to have that much dedication and commitment to your community,” said Horgan about Langford’s mayor and council. He said that Langford has demonstrated “the things that you can do when you work together and have a vision, and have a community this inclusive.”
Horgan noted Langford’s amenities for young families such as good schools, good sports, great arenas, the YMCA, and libraries. “It just keeps getting better, month after month, year after year. It’s been an extraordinary 25 years in Langford, I have a great deal of gratitude for you,” said Horgan to Mayor Young, Langford council, and city staff.
“People are coming and bringing families here, starting businesses here, and creating opportunities for themselves. It is all because of the work that you do in this room,” Horgan said.Mayor Young thanked the Premier, and also acknowledged Langford’s team effort. “We’ve got a lot of great workers in the City of Langford. Everybody’s excited to apply and get a job in Langford.” People see leadership here: “Everybody sees how well we work together with our council and our staff. We’re always able to do great things in Langford when we all work together like that,” said Stew Young, noting how his city is known for an open door policy to business.
“It’s one of the things our council prides itself on. Helping everybody who’s in business,” said Young, noting how using the services of local businesses is key. “The business community comes to our community.”
Noting his 25 years as Mayor, Stew Young said he is happy and proud to have a team behind him that works so hard to improve the community where he was born and grew up.
Guests this evening included local developers, to whom Horgan gave a nod: in a recent speech to the Urban Development Institute in Vancouver Horgan had highlighted how well things get done to speed along with building permits and the growth of the community.
Friday, December 1 ~ VICTORIA. November 2017 saw the highest number of property sales of any November in the Greater Victoria area since 1996 — 671 in total (12% more than sold last November). The number of active listings for sale dropped 7.4% in one month from October to November.
The Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB) predicted last month that buyers might accelerate their purchase timeline to buy a home ahead of ‘stress test’ rules set for January 2018. Overall in Greater Victoria there were 307 single family home sales in November selling at a raw average price of $902,985.
It should be understood that VREB’s data-adjusted HPI figures show $693,200, which means people are paying far above what most people hear as the selling price.
In the west shore, the real price of a house in Langford last month was $696,933 (61 sales) while the HPI was given as $593,800. In Colwood there were 15 sales averaging out at $725,290 while the HPI was $658,100. In Sooke there were 18 house sales in November at a real average sale price of $509,418 while the HPI was $483,300.
So that’s almost a million dollars in overall Greater Victoria for a house and over half a million in Sooke where housing is considered to be affordable.
Condo sales rolled in like this: 219 in Greater Victoria averaging $437,822; Langford 26 sales averaging $330,298; Colwood 5 sales averaging $396,900; and one sale in Sooke at $229,000. All stats: www.vreb.org
Thursday, November 30 ~ BC. Premier John Horgan told media today that he considers the Fall Session of the legislature to have been a success. He itemized that his minority government has passed a number of key bills and that they worked on a number of initiatives that were laid out in the election platform.
He jumped right into how a 4-year mandate to achieve “all of the results” will be helpful to “working for people and delivering the services that they depend on”.
Premier Horgan is keen about the public engagement about the upcoming electoral reform referendum as available online at https://engage.gov.bc.ca/howwevote/ . The wording of the referendum question will be announced in the new year after input from public engagement has been reviewed, said Horgan.
About the referendum question that ends up on the ballot: “I want it to be as clear as possible, and I want the public to make this choice.” Horgan said that Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver said ‘just do it’. “But I think that’s not the right way to proceed in the 21st century. We want to engage with people and ask them how they want us to proceed. I want it (a winning referendum result) to be 50+1 and that the public makes the choice,” Premier Horgan said today.
With a bit of retrospection, Horgan said that the period between the May 2017 election campaign and the swearing-in that was held mid-July will be seen as a “most heightened period in political history, with people “suddenly interested in what happened here … the role of the speaker and the role of the Lieutenant Governor in our democracy.”
He called the first minority government in 50 years in BC a “unique opportunity… where parties are working together to make life better for citizens in this great province”.
Thursday, November 30 ~ BC. Today in a media session from the BC Legislature, Premier John Horgan defended his position on opposing increased tanker traffic through BC waters, and vowed to maintain that position for the sake of BC’s economy and environment. “I have a great deal of respect for Premier Rachel Notley and the progressive work she’s doing as leader of that province, but my response is to stand firm for the interests of our province,” Horgan said about Alberta’s premier who today continued her pitch to expand pipelines that would bring more crude oil to the coast.
Earlier this week, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley had called on the federal government to step up its efforts to support the project. Today November 30, Notley said while speaking in Vancouver to BC business leaders about the future of energy in Canada and local pipeline projects, that she was pleased with the federal government support the National Energy Board process to resolve permit delays.
“I hope (the federal government) will continue to embrace their role as a key player in promoting what is, in my view, a national project,” Notley said. She noted that several years ago, 44,000 British Columbians earned $2 billion in income by working in Alberta. But today BC Premier Horgan said his government’s opposition to pipeline expansion remains in the interest of economic and environmental benefits to BC.
Thursday, November 30 ~ BC. HORGAN ON HOUSING. “Housing is the number one issue on my desk right now,” said Premier John Horgan today, though last week his top concern was the decision he is soon to make about whether the Site C hydroelectric project continues or gets cancelled. For housing , the Premier said that his government will have “a comprehensive plan in February”.
He itemized the need for more 2-bedroom and 3-bedroom units “to allow families to grow and maintain a connection to community”. On the demand side, he indicated that his government will aim to “remove speculation in the market”.
Wednesday, November 29 ~ LANGFORD. As of 11 am this morning November 29, there are more 5,000 fish in the pond at Hole #15 at Bear Mountain Valley Golf Course.
On this cool Wednesday up at Bear Mountain about 5,000 coho parr were released into Osborn Pond at Hole #15. Skies were grey but the rain held off.
The morning activity was the 6th annual coho release into the ecofriendly habitat. The juvenile salmon will stay and feed in the pond for several months before heading out through Millstream Creek to Esquimalt Harbour and out to the open ocean in the Juan de Fuca Strait. Coho live half their lives in fresh water, and half in the saltwater of the ocean.About 1,400 of the original batch will make it to the ocean for a long swim to Haida Gwaii and then return, arriving back in Millstream Creek about 18 months from now. They will be about 2.5 feet long at that point, coming back to spawn, said Peter McCully, technical advisor, Goldstream Volunteer Salmonid Enhancement Association.
The fish each have one of their fins clipped, as a way for identifying them upon their return. It’s an unused adipose fin that is clipped a bit, not a fin that is required for the action of swimming. About 700 to 800 released fish are identified upon return. They don’t make it as far back as Osborn Pond, but for the time being get only as far as some small ponds near Atkins Road. Presently a culvert perched high above the stream presents too much of a jump even for powerful salmon.There is now a plan to build some fish ladders (concrete ‘steps’) for the returning fish as a way of enabling their jump into the culvert. The hatchery needs about $205,000 more toward a total goal of $245,000 (an amount that will be matched by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans). So far, large donations have been contributed by the City of Langford and Ecoasis Developments, and the Peninsula Streams Society is doing more fundraising.
The fish were transported out to the pond today in a large container, then directed into the pond through a large plastic hose. It took barely a minute for all the fish to arrive in the pond. Well, except for a handful of stragglers that at the end were dumped into their new habitat from a bucket.
A class of Grade 3 & 4 students from Lakewood Elementary with their teacher Sherri Fawcett were keen observers, gathered on the soggy grass. Between arriving pondside in a fleet of golf carts, watching the small fish being hosed into the pond, and enjoying hot chocolate and cookies, the kids had an exciting and probably quite memorable experience.
The event is sponsored each year by Ecoasis Developments which owns Bear Mountain Resort. Ecoasis Chief Financial Officer David Clark was in attendance, as well as Bear Mountain staff, several volunteers from Goldstream Volunteer Salmonid Enhancement Association, and media.Turning Osborn Pond into a nursery for these parr is an integral part of a larger conservation initiative to strengthen the numbers of coho, chum and chinook salmon in the waters off the south-easterly tip of Vancouver Island. McCully says it’s quite significant that this environmental initiative is occuring through mostly an urbanized area.
The parr weight about 8 to 10 grams. The eggs were harvested last November and volunteers have been overseeing their rearing.
The hatchery has over 90 active volunteers. “It’s a model of how public involvement in wildlife conservation and preservation can provide environmental rewards without costing the taxpayers large sums of money,” explains McCully. He says that recent survival rates for South Vancouver Island streams are as low as one-half of 1%. “Giving these young fish a fighting start is extremely important”.
Improved salmon stocks will support food fishery for First Nations communities, the sport fishing industry, and local and charter fishing operations. Prior to the introduction of parr to Osborn Pond, there were no salmon in Millstream Creek.
Monday, November 27 ~ LANGFORD. There was a quake this evening in the west shore, that’s a fact. How strong it was or location are variably reported.
Natural Resource Canada (NRC) reported a 2.0 Magnitude quake as occuring at 7:02:50 PST at a depth of 10 km.
The location of 48.51 N and 123.6 West of the November 27 quake was reported by some media as NE of Sooke, which puts the actual location in Langford.
The US Geological Service called it a 2.4 Magnitude quake “between Langford and Sooke” at a depth of 24.2 km.
By all measure it was a small quake, with damage neither reported nor expected, says NRC.
It was enough of a shakeup that social media was active with people’s reports of feeling a quake.
And it was felt in Colwood. During the City of Colwood council meeting Mayor Carol Hamilton paused to inform the room that a 1.9 quake had occurred in Langford “so that was an earthquake we all felt (as the meeting started)”.
Friday November 24 ~ LANGFORD. A Shift into Winter information booth about winter driving safety will be at the Victoria Royals game in Victoria this evening, 6 to 10 pm. It’s an opportunity presented by Mainroad South Island to share road safety information with the public.
The main depot for Mainroad South Island is in Langford, conveniently located as a large facility on the new West Shore Parkway near Hwy 1.
Today Mainroad South Island manager Rick Gill and Operations Manager Leon Bohmer spoke to media about their preparations for the winter season. Weather is expected to be about the same as last winter, including snowfall and icy road conditions.
“Safety of the travelling public is of utmost importance,” said Rick Gill, manager, Mainroad South Island. “It’s a challenge when winter comes. But it does snow in this region. So we try to educate the public about safe winter driving,” said Gill.
By de-icing roads with brine ahead of expected snowfall, Mainroad South Island hopes to get ahead of any major road condition problems this winter.
Look for a full article coming up in the November 24th print/PDF issue of West Shore Voice News (being posted this weekend on this website ). | More about winter driving: www.shiftintowinter.ca
Photos (from top):
>> Snow plough in winter storm [Mainroad South Island]
>> Mainroad South Island Operations Manager Leon Bohmer (left) and Manager Rick Gill, with the newest of four 4-ton sander trucks, at their main facility in Langford [West Shore Voice News photo, Nov 24/17]
>> Salt can be loaded up into trucks on short notice, from a ready supply on hand at the West Shore Parkway location [West Shore Voice News photo, Nov 24/17]
Friday, November 24 ~ SOOKE. When it comes to hot topics around Sooke, one of the most heated is Highway 14 (Sooke Road).
So it was a bit surprising to hear not too many new ideas or any momentum for action during the Transition Sooke evening presentation on Monday November 20.
Called “Rethinking Traffic as Usual”, the presentation by guest speaker Eric Doherty to about 40 Sooke residents gathered in the second-floor library at Edward Milne Community School was mainly a pitch for more bus transit on the provincial highway.
The same old arguments about more roads or further road expansion leading to more congestion somewhat fell on deaf ears.
Read the full article on the SOOKE breaking news page
Wednesday, November 22 ~ VICTORIA. BC Green Party leader Andrew Weaver today read to the BC Legislature a warning from a letter signed by from 15,364 scientists in 184 countries.
The letter, published last week by the Alliance of World Scientists entitled World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: a second notice warns world leaders that there needs to be change in order to save the earth.
The full letter is posted here http://scientistswarning.forestry.oregonstate.edu/ and scientists from any scientific discipline (e.g. ecology, medicine, economics, etc.), are invited to endorse the letter.
“As leaders, we have a responsibility to younger generations to ensure that our actions today do not leave them worse off than we are,” said Weaver.
Weaver said he was proud to deliver the scientists’ message to the BC legislature “so that we may be reminded of this responsibility and take urgent action to address climate change”. Weaver continued: “BC has a history of leadership in climate action. I am proud that our Agreement with the BC NDP has once again moved us in this direction, but there remains much work to be done.”
“BC has a highly educated workforce, abundant natural resources and is one of the most beautiful places in the world to live. If we have the courage to champion a bold vision, we can ensure that BC is a leader not only in climate action, but also in the low-carbon economy that is emerging as world leaders step up to reduce emissions.”The letter states that in order “to prevent widespread misery and catastrophic biodiversity loss, humanity must practice a more environmentally sustainable alternative to business as usual… soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out.”
The warning comes 25 years after Dr. Henry Kendall, a Nobel Laureate and former Chairperson of the Union of Concerned Scientists, organized a similar statement signed by 1,500 scientists in 1992.
Weaver is a renowned climate scientist who prior to his election to the BC Legislature in 2013 served as Canada Research Chair in climate modelling and analysis in the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria.
Weaver was a Lead Author on the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s scientific assessments and has authored or coauthored over 200 peer-reviewed, scientific papers and was the Chief Editor of the Journal of Climate from 2005-2009.
Tuesday, November 21 ~ VICTORIA. BC Premier John Horgan and Washington Gov Jay Inslee have issued the following statement after their first official meeting and the governor’s address to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia:
“Today, we reaffirmed our commitment to work closely together and strengthen the enduring and unique partnership between British Columbia and Washington state.
“We recognize our shared responsibility to protect the environment, grow our economies, find new opportunities to expand our flourishing tech and innovation corridor, and create good jobs on both sides of the border.
“Our governments remain committed to joint action and leadership in the fight against climate change, and in the pursuit of strong, sustainable economic development that works for the people of Washington and British Columbia.”
Friday, November 17 ~ LANGFORD/SOOKE. BC Premier John Horgan — MLA for the Langford-Juan de Fuca area through which Highway 14 (Hwy14/Sooke Road) runs, has told Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) staff to go back to the drawing board.
Horgan has recently reviewed a long-awaited report intended to improve driving and safety conditions on the winding, through-the-hills provincial highway that connects Sooke and westerly beyond to the rest of Greater Victoria. The Premier has asked for more details and options, to work harder on finding a solution, it was learned from government officials on November 17.
The first draft apparently has some “good projects” within it, but “not sufficient scale that the MLA wants”. While this delays the timeline for seeing improvements on Hwy 14, it will likely come as good news to Sooke residents, commuters, and the regional tourism industry because it means the Premier (who is directly familiar with details of the road) is watching out for his constituents and the region, toward a better result. It also makes sense to use taxpayers’ dollars wisely, and if the improvements will leave some things undone, then it’s prudent to further develop some meaningful improvements.Apart from a short 4-lane stretch from the West Shore Parkway intersection west toward Sooke, Hwy 14 (Sooke Road) is single-lane. Until a person has driven it many times, for various reasons including road line (some tight angles), sight lines (especially with headlights from oncoming night traffic), lack of lighting and no opportunity for passing, the road presents a challenging drive. Even for seasoned drivers of the Sooke Road, at night and/or in inclement weather, it’s still a drive that could be considered difficult and risky.
Premier Horgan has asked senior officials to engage in a very focussed consultative process with an informal regional group of business people (that sometimes refers to itself as the Sooke Economic Development Commission) who focus on Hwy 14 issues and also Sooke Mayor Maja Tait.
Mayor Tait was been awaiting the transportation report along with everyone else. Today she said: “Premier Horgan as our MLA is well aware of needed improvements to Hwy 14, and while MOTI staff have worked to have the draft completed, I’m grateful that our MLA and Premier is taking the time to ensure the study fully captures the necessary improvements for the safety of our residents and visitors.”Langford Mayor Stew Young sees opening up the Sooke region as a benefit to regional economic development. Regarding the now further delay of the MOTI plan for improving Hwy 14, Mayor Young said today: “I am hopeful the provincial government will keep the solution to Hwy 14 and the E&N corridor into Victoria as high priorities”. “I will be reaching out to Transportation Minister Trevena to see what opportunities we have to find a solution for Westshore and Sooke residents,” he said.
In recent years some improvements have included wider shoulders including bike lanes in some stretches, as well as the roundabout in Sooke town centre. Otherwise, there remain several sections that obviously require left-turn lanes for improved safety (such as at 17 Mile House, and at Manzer Rd) and improved lighting all along the highway — Sooke to Langford — that would produce immense improvements in safe use of the road for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
And here’s what MOTI had to say about their rejected report today: “BC is working hard to build roads and highways that support growing communities and help encourage economic development across the province. For Hwy 14, we want to make the corridor between Langford and Sooke as safe and as accessible as possible – not just for people in cars, but for people who take transit and people who bike and walk.”
The ministry also says that it focused the corridor study on safety upgrades “because people who frequently travel the route told us they were concerned about reliability and wanted to see it closed less frequently.” Apparently the study also looked at ways to promote greater transit use, and how to encourage more cycling over the short and medium timeframe. “The initial findings identify several safety and transit improvements that could be implemented over the next year or two in addition to the work that is already underway,” said a statement by MOTI.And now they have heard from Premier Horgan that the review “doesn’t go far enough to improve mobility along this corridor and to meet the demands of the increasing population, as more and more people make their homes and establish their businesses in the Sooke area.” It’s clear that authors of the report either don’t drive Hwy 14 themselves or did not consult with Sooke-area businesses, community leaders or daily commuters who could have identified very specific needs.
“The ministry is going to take the report a step further, looking at ways to make travel along this route more reliable and to increase mobility, such as adding future passing lanes and potential short road re-alignments to straighten out some of the curves,” said MOTI officials on November 17.
“We’re going to expand the study to go all the way to Port Renfrew and we’re going to hear from stakeholders in the region to get their ideas for long term improvements on this corridor.” MOTI concluded: “This government cares about building strong, connected communities and is committed to solving the broader transportation challenges and needs in the South Island region.”
On Monday, November 20 a presentation about Hwy 14 and broader transportation issues will be hosted by Transition Sooke at Edward Milne Community School, 6218 Sooke Rd, at 7 pm. The event is open to the community and is expected to be well-attended.
This article first published in the November 17, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News.
Tuesday, November 14 ~ LANGFORD. Rugby Canada is making another shift to Langford which includes not only the new Al Charron Rugby Canada National Training Centre (construction near completion) but an internal restructuring of the organization.
As announced yesterday by Rugby Canada, a restructuring within the burgeoning National Sport Federation will be implemented “to drive operational excellence”.
The restructuring announced today allows the organization to align and focus its resources with its evolving high performance objectives and expanded National Team operations in Langford, along with the opening of the Al Charron Rugby Canada National Training Centre at 3019 Glen Lake Road in early 2018. The cost of the joint project of the Government of Canada, City of Langford, and Rugby Canada is $7.84 million.
As part of the restructuring, several departments will relocate to Langford over the next three to six months from the organization’s corporate office in Richmond Hill, Ontario. Rugby Canada’s Finance, Marketing and Communications, General Operations and Governance departments will relocate to the Federation’s existing Centre of Excellence facility at 3024 Glen Lake Road.
“This is a good organizational change from the top down,” says Langford Mayor Stew Young. “It is good for rugby’s advancement on the world stage and good for the athletes. Most of the teams Canada competes against have made changes and are showing results,” he said this week. “Centrally focusing on the front office is good for rugby in Langford. We are are strong partner and supporter of Rugby Canada and look forward to a long committed relationship with rugby players and staff.”
Mayor Young is looking forward to the grand opening of the Al Charon Centre for excellence which he says “will be a huge benefit for the Canadian men’s and women’s teams and give them the extra advantage while playing for Canada on the world stage.”
The Rugby Department within Rugby Canada has been led by Jim Dixon for the past two and a half years. “On behalf of the Canadian Rugby community and everyone at Rugby Canada, I would like to thank Jim for his commitment to the organization, our National Teams and Development programs. We wish Jim every success in the future,” said Allen Vansen, CEO, Rugby Canada.Positions being established in Langford by the organization that has grown rapidly over the last five years are: Chief Operating Officer, Director of Communications and Marketing, Director of Finance, and finance coordinators. Myles Spencer, current Chief Operating Officer, Linh Nguyen current Chief Financial Officer, and Carlos Ferreira, current Director of Marketing and Communications, along with the existing finance staff, will remain with Rugby Canada for the coming months as these new positions are recruited for and filled by new staff based in Langford.
An external party with relevant expertise in the Canadian sport system was called in to help assess and guide the restructuring toward “increased synergies in the daily operations of the staff and permit a downsizing of Rugby Canada’s office requirements in Richmond Hill for efficiencies”. Rugby Canada’s Board of Directors says it fully supports and endorses this new organizational change. It is absolutely necessary,” said Tim Powers, Chair of the Rugby Canada Board of Directors. “We would also like to thank Jim, Myles, Linh, Carlos, Nina, Audrey and Cindy for their unwavering commitment to our sport.”
“This marks the beginning of a new era for Rugby Canada, as one of Canada’s fastest growing sports,” added Vansen. “While always difficult to reach these tough decisions, this is the best path forward to reach our organization’s performance and growth objectives. These changes will help Rugby Canada build a world class organizational culture and enhance the performance of our Sport development and National Team programs, today and into the future.”
Sunday, November 12 ~ NATIONAL. Working hard toward the open-minded view. INSIGHT-EDITORIAL by Mary P Brooke, West Shore Voice News
Canada is fast gaining an international reputation for advancing by leaps and bounds in various social areas, like flinging open the doors to immigration, working fast toward legalization of cannabis by next summer, and labouring toward reconciliation with indigenous peoples in various areas of concern. Zero tolerance for sexual harassment and bullying have become, finally, pretty much mainstream. Remembrance Day this weekend should remind all of us how much sacrifice has been made over the last century to uphold all manner of freedom and personal dignity in our country.
So in the context of this fast-action swirl of progressive social movement in this country, it was odd — and made national headlines — that Canada’s new Governor General took a swipe at ‘believers’. Religious or not, most people realize this is a country based on a founding faith and where all faiths are respected, or at least the freedom to hold beliefs that might be different from yours or mine.
In a speech at the 9th annual Canadian Science Policy Convention in Ottawa on November 1, Governor General Julie Payette mocked with a wide brush the entire art and science of astrological interpretation and calculation. While astrology is not exactly a belief-system, it has been shown to be an effective tool for self-awareness and understanding. The math to calculate planetary transits isn’t easy … before the advent of modern computing the charting was done by hand. Some world-class astrologers such as the industrious Neil F. Michelsen (organizer of the modern ephemeris) and the uniquely brilliant Jim Lewis (inventor of astrocartography) in the late 1970s and early 1980s generated entire volumes of analysis based on math done with calculators and good ol’ brain cells.
There was a time, long long ago, when the stirrings of modern science and medicine were mocked. Germs we can’t see? Nonsense! Today’s accurate science is essential and should rightly guide the development of technological civilized nations. But we should remember that over time many scientific ‘truths’ have been debunked, followed by further advancement. Meanwhile, the evidence of one’s life purpose can be examined through competent natal astrological analysis based on one’s geographical entry point into time and space on earth (i.e. birth), pointing to congruence for the individual within their social framework.
Years ago it was actually a mainstream university administrator in my world (not a hippie with sun signs and moons pasted up around the room) who pointed out the value of a system of personal insights that accepts a myriad ways of being ‘right’ and whole. Today’s mental health movement that is based dangerously on models that lead to labeling and medication could well take a page from that book to recognize that not all pegs fit into the same holes. [Footnote: there is value in utilizing therapeutic levels of nutritional supplementation as an approach to managing mental health, rather than by rote reverting to drugs and psychotherapy. ‘We are what we eat’, entirely scientifically proven – cellular microbiology at work. Canadian founder of that research and clinical application: Dr Abram Hoffer.]
Youth are stressed by frantically working hard to ‘fit’ and find a place in the big scheme of things (that’s always been the challenge of approaching adulthood but it’s incredibly more complex in a digital, global, hyper-social era). It takes a constellation of personalities to create the universe of humanity, and while our culture gives lip-service to diversity, it’s still tough for those who don’t find a ready niche.
It’s a fool’s path to wake up in the morning and guide one’s every move of the day based on sun-sign astrology. But utilizing deeper astrological principles as a tool for the continual work of personal self-actualization (e.g. providing direction for choices in lifestyle and career), family dynamics (noting the insightful work of international depth astrologer and author Erin Sullivan), and sociocultural examination (e.g. all baby boomers were born with transformational Pluto in fiery self-focused Leo) is a principled choice that flies neither in the face of science nor religion. Understanding of self and society, by whatever tool or system, is clarity worth achieving.
With her one fell-swoop mocking astrology, Payette gave Canadians a glimpse of an old-school intellectual arrogance that does not fit within Canada’s newfound bent for exploring with an open mind all things ‘wonderful and new’.
Saturday, November 11 ~ LANGFORD. BC Premier John Horgan (MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca) laid a wreath and made some brief remarks at the podium during the Remembrance Day ceremony in Langford today. In total, 62 wreaths were laid.
VIPs arrived in a parade. At Veteran Memorial Park, about 1,000 people were gathered under threat of rain, standing or seated in some bleachers in the cold for the one-hour event.
Service personnel in uniform stood in formation for the entire hour. Music by the Westshore Community Concert Band, Gordon United Church Choir and Westshore Girl Guides.
Roads were closed in central Langford, including by large trucks positioned horizontally across roads. Helicopters and airplanes flew overhead at various points. On-the-ground security was present but not overtly obvious.
Four mayors from the west shore area laid wreaths immediately after Premier Horgan: Langford Mayor Stew Young, Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton, Metchosin Mayor John Ranns and Highlands Mayor Ken Williams.
Saturday, November 11. To see the Remembrance Day messages from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, BC Premier John Horgan, and BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver, see the November 10, 2017 Remembrance Day issue of West Shore Voice News.
Friday, November 10 ~ LANGFORD. West Shore RCMP have issued a traffic advisory for some traffic disruptions during the course of Remembrance Day ceremonies on Saturday, November 11 in Langford. There will be road closures to vehicle traffic for the duration, from 10:30 to 12 noon.
Peatt Rd / Station Ave
Veterans Memorial Pkwy / Station Ave
Goldstream Ave / Veterans Memorial Pkwy
Goldstream Ave / Aldwyn Rd
Aldwyn Rd / Fairway Ave
Veterans Memorial Pkwy / Hagel Rd / Meaford Ave
West Shore RCMP encourages everyone to come down and take part in the Remembrance Day Ceremonies as we say thank you and give a thought to the sacrifice made by the Men and Women of the Canadian Armed Forces, in conflicts both past and present.
Friday, November 10 ~ BC. Premier John Horgan released the following statement in honour of Remembrance Day tomorrow.
“On Remembrance Day, people around British Columbia honour veterans, armed forces members, merchant marines and families who have sacrificed in service of our country.
“For many of us, it’s impossible to imagine the courage it takes to put on a uniform and go into harm’s way. Yet for generations, Canadians have bravely risked their lives to protect ours.
“Today, in moments of silence all around the province, we pay tribute to loved ones lost, and to those who have returned with injuries, both visible and invisible.
“We cannot forget the tragedies of war, and we must all work together to build a more peaceful world. Lest we forget.”
Wednesday, November 8 ~ GREATER VICTORIA. New chairs have been announced today for the Capital Regional District (CRD) and Capital Regional Hospital District (CRHD) Board of Directors. The two Boards elect a Chair and Vice Chair each November.
Heading into 2018, CRD says in a news release that their organization’s focus will be on enabling sustainable growth, enhancing community well-being, and developing cost-effective infrastructure while continuing to provide core services throughout the region.
CRD Director and Mayor of Sidney Steve Price is the new 2018 CRD Board Chair, and began by chairing today’s board meeting. Price has been a member of the CRD Board since 2015, serving on various CRD standing committees. He was first elected to Sidney Council in 2008 before election as Mayor in 2014.
CRD Director David Screech is the new 2018 CRD Board Vice-Chair. Screech has served on the CRD Board since 2015 and on various CRD standing committees. He was first elected to View Royal Council in 2002 and then as Mayor in 2014.
Director Marianne Alto has been re-elected for a second year as the 2018 CRHD Chair. Director Alto has been a member of the CRD and CRHD Boards since 2011. She has provided leadership for the CRD’s First Nations Task Force and serves as a member of various CRD committees.
Director Susan Brice has been elected as the 2018 CRHD Vice-Chair. Director Brice has served on the CRD and CRHD Boards for several years, including as CRD Board Chair in the late 1980s.
The CRD and CRHD Boards share the same directors and officers. A corporation of the CRD, the Capital Regional Hospital District partners with Island Health and community stakeholder agencies to develop and improve healthcare facilities in the region, including replacing buildings that have reached the end of their economic and functional life.
Representation on the CRD and CRHD Boards balances varying population bases with community interests. In accordance with Provincial legislation, each municipality appoints one director for every 25,000 people and directors are elected to represent electoral areas. Voting units are assigned based on one unit for every 5,000 people.
|Name, Title||Municipality or Electoral Area||Role||Assigned votes|
|Steve Price, Mayor||Sidney||CRD Chair||3|
|David Screech, Mayor||View Royal||CRD Vice-Chair||3|
|Marianne Alto, Councillor||Victoria||CRHD Chair||4|
|Susan Brice, Councillor||Saanich||CRHD Vice-Chair||5|
|Richard Atwell, Mayor||Saanich||Director||5|
|Denise Blackwell, Councillor||Langford||Director||4|
|Judy Brownoff, Councillor||Saanich||Director||4|
|Barbara Desjardins, Mayor||Esquimalt||Director||4|
|Alice Finall, Mayor||North Saanich||Director||3|
|Carol Hamilton, Mayor||Colwood||Director||4|
|Lisa Helps, Mayor||Victoria||Director||5|
|Mike Hicks, Director||Juan de Fuca Electoral Area||Director||2|
|David Howe, Director||Southern Gulf Islands Electoral Area||Director||2|
|Ben Isitt, Councillor||Victoria||Director||5|
|Nils Jensen, Mayor||Oak Bay||Director||4|
|Wayne McIntyre, Director||Salt Spring Island Electoral Area||Director||3|
|Dean Murdock, Councillor||Saanich||Director||4|
|Colin Plant, Councillor||Saanich||Director||5|
|John Ranns, Mayor||Metchosin||Director||1|
|Lanny Seaton, Councillor||Langford||Director||4|
|Maja Tait, Mayor||Sooke||Director||3|
|Ken Williams, Mayor||Highlands||Director||1|
|Ryan Windsor, Mayor||Central Saanich||Director||4|
|Geoff Young, Councillor||Victoria||Director||4|
A standing committee structure, including appointing committee Chairs and Vice-Chairs, will be announced on or before the next CRD Board meeting on December 13.
In 2017, under Chair Barb Desjardins, the CRD Board continued to make progress on the 2015-2018 CRD strategic priorities which outline the direction and priorities of the CRD Board. The corporate plan, multi-year service plans and progress reports can be found at https://www.crd.bc.ca/about/how-we-are-governed/strategic-priorities-plans
Wednesday, November 8 ~ VICTORIA. A significant announcement about freezing BC Hydro rates was made today by the BC NDP government, fulfilling a key campaign promise about affordability for British Columbians.
It puts “an end to the years of spiraling electricity costs that have made life less affordable for BC homeowners and renters,” Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Michelle Mungall announced today.
BC Hydro rates have gone up by more than 24% in the last four years, and by more than 70% since 2001. This was part of a five-year roll-out that started in 2014 under the former BC Liberal government. The steady march of increases appeared to be tone-deaf from the start as to the overall recession-recovery financial struggles of households and small businesses in BC.
Mungall says that in 2016, BC Hydro applied to the BC Utilities Commission for three years of increases, with a 3% increase planned next year, but will be pulling back its request “consistent with this administration’s commitment to a rate freeze”.
The rate freeze will provide government the time to undertake a comprehensive review of BC Hydro, it was stated in a Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources release. “That review will identify changes and cost savings to keep rates low while ensuring BC Hydro has the resources it needs to continue to provide clean, safe and reliable electricity.”
Details of the scope and process for the review will be developed once government has made a final decision on Site C, which earlier today Premier John Horgan said would take another couple of weeks.
After completing a comprehensive review of BC Hydro, any cost and revenue adjustments identified will be reflected in rates starting in April 2019, the government said. This likely gives consumers just a one-year reprieve.
The rate freeze follows government’s commitment in its September budget update to phase out the provincial sales tax on electricity for small businesses.
Wednesday, November 8 ~ VICTORIA. BC Premier John Horgan in his weekly media session at the BC Legislature reiterated the degree of pressure he is under to decide about Site C.
Making a decision about whether to proceed with or stop the Site C hydroelectric project is a $12 billion dollar decision, affecting contracts, indigenous interests in the area, and individuals, he explained.
If the project is cancelled, the cost would be about $4 billion (over $2 billion already spent or committed, plus another $1.8 billion to remediate the site).
When pressed by media as to what appears to be slow action on calling a by-election in Kelowna West (a seat left empty by the departing Christy Clark) Horgan used the magnitude of this decision, in part, to defend not calling the by-election this fall. His other reason is seasonal timing… too close to the Christmas holiday season, saying people wouldn’t appreciate that.
Having information made public about Site C decision-making is something Horgan promised during the 2017 election campaign, and he seemed pleased that the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) is now available to the public.
At present, Horgan says there is an oversupply of electricity in the North American market. He says the estimates by BC Hydro for future electricity demand are wrong.
“Site C is over budget and off schedule,” said Premier Horgan, adding it’s something he’s been saying “for some time”. He reiterated having run on a platform of affordability for British Columbians. He said it was “bad policy making from the start” for former Premier Clark to try to “get the project past the point of no return”.
It would be costly to shut down the project, but that must be weighed with the social and economic costs of falling short on electricity demand in the future. While alternative energy sources are moving forward in various ways, there is no way of telling whether natural gas, biomass heat capture, wind power and other methods will be far enough along should a growing population require more electricity in five to 10 years time.
“It’s not an easy choice or decision. I will be grappling with it for the next couple of weeks,” Horgan said today.
Tuesday, November 7 ~ SOOKE. Expect traffic delays on Thursday November 16 on Sooke Road (Highway 14), for some live maintenance work being done on hydro poles in 5700-block.
Single lane traffic and delays can be expected from 9:30 am to 3 pm. This will cause backups both eastbound into Langford and westbound toward Sooke.
“We’re doing the work live,” says BC Hydro spokesperson Ted Olynyk. “We appreciate the public’s patience and the delays it may cause.” He also hopes drivers will obey the speed limits and respect the flaggers who will be on site to manage the traffic flow.
BC Hydro is doing the work live on one or more poles with 25 kV lines so that a major power outage is not required for a large part of the Sooke area. For safety reasons, this work on live wires must be done during the daytime, says Olynyk.
Sooke Road is a provincial highway (Highway 14), and is effectively the only road in and out of Sooke (population 13,000).
Tuesday, November 7 ~ LANGFORD. The upcoming Remembrance Day ceremony at Veterans Memorial Park in Langford is expected to fill the park.
The public should get there early to get a good standing spot or a spot on the bleachers, says Norm Scott, president, Langford Legion.
This year, four west shore mayors will be in attendance: Langford Mayor Stew Young, Colwood Mayor Carol Hamilton, Metchosin Mayor John Ranns, and Highlands Mayor Ken Williams. BC Premier John Horgan (MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca) will be attending.
The public will start arriving around 9:30 am. The event starts promptly at 11 am and lasts about 50 minutes.
An oak tree from Vimy Ridge — planted in the park a few weeks ago — will be noted during the ceremony. On October 27 a Vimy Ridge memorial was commemorated by Langford Legion members with Langford Mayor and Council in attendance.
The Remembrance Day event in Sooke will be held at the Sooke Legion cenotaph. Representing Premier John Horgan (MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca which includes Sooke) will be Patrick Swinburnson, principal of Edward Milne Community School.
The Remembrance Day event in Esquimalt will be attended by Randall Garrison, MP (Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke) and Mitzi Dean, MLA (Esquimalt-Metchosin).
All events start at 11 am.
Monday, November 6 ~ WEST SHORE. Provincial Highway 14 (Sooke Road) is getting some speed reader boards in the ‘Luxton strectch’ east of the upward winding section toward West Shore Parkway.
Speed reader boards are those electronic signs that use radar to detect the speed of an approaching vehicle and display the speed on an LED variable message display. The speed display is typically combined with a static (non-electronic) display that includes the text “Your Speed” or similar.
The posted speed on Highway 14 in that section heading westbound toward West Shore Parkway is 60 kph (or 50 kph when children are on the highway) and when heading eastbound just at West Shore Parkway and heading to the Langford town area.
Hwy 14 beyond West Shore Parkway on the way to Sooke has a 80 kph posted speed limit on the 4-lane section, reducing to 60 kph again when the road is single-lane heading to Sooke.
The intent of the Speed Reader Board is to encourage compliance with the posted speed limit by making motorists aware of their actual speed. They are intended to be used as supplements to the maximum posted speed signs to encourage compliance when transitioning to a lower posted speed, such as school zones, road construction zones, and communities located along highways.Five years ago an injury collision on Hwy 14 near Glenshire Road resulted in the death of 13-year-old Langford resident AJ (Adam Jessie) Wakeling. The highway in that winding stretch between Glenshire Road and the driveway entrance to Slegg Lumber was poorly lit, it was later determined by West Shore RCMP. The driver of a small pickup truck heading eastbound at the crest of a hill and around a sweeping curve was never charged, as the teen was wearing dark clothing and the driver was determined to have been travelling at the average speed for a dry road.
“The fatal crash five years ago on Highway 14 was a tragedy, and our hearts go out to the victim’s family and friends,” said the BC Ministry of Transportation last week. “Following the incident, Ministry staff reviewed this section of the highway as part of assisting local police with their investigation into the crash.”
MOTI continued: “Since the crash, the Ministry installed a new crosswalk and an eastbound bus stop near Slegg Lumber, and earlier this year completed a new westbound bus stop. In addition, we have ordered speed reader boards that will be installed in the Luxton area of the corridor in the coming weeks.” But still no additional lighting.A corridor-wide safety study of Highway 14 between Langford and Sooke is underway and is expected to wrap up by the end of the year, says MOTI.
The Sooke Economic Development Commission (EDC) which has taken on Highway 14 issues as its key mandate toward expanded economic growth for the Sooke region, eagerly awaits the report. The group may soon have specific observations and improvement requests for various sections of the road to Sooke.
Sooke Mayor Maja Tait told West Shore Voice News last week: “We continue to wait for the preliminary report, and look forward to working with the Province on continued improvements to Highway 14.”
Sunday, November 5 ~ VICTORIA. Yesterday it was pretty much a full house at the BC NDP convention in downtown Victoria, giving a rousing clamor of applause for the new leader of the national NDP party, Jagmeet Singh. Singh was elected by NDP membership to head up the party,
just over one month ago in Toronto. Since then he has gained a unique flavour popularity in the NDP camp and attracts a curious level of fascination across the country.
Bounding onto the stage at the Victoria Convention Centre on November 4, Singh was accompanied on stage for the duration of his 20-minute speech by elected members of parliament and party leaders.
He began with accolades for BC Premier John Horgan and the BC NDP for “changing the course of 16 years and bringing in an NDP government”. He commended the new BC NDP government for their comprehensive strategy to tackle poverty in BC, and for working to re-establish a Human Rights Commission. In followup to a final point about raising the corporate income tax “so that everybody pays their fair share”, Singh said to Horgan and the provincial NDP: “Thank you for showing us the way.”
Singh came right out to say that the national NDP party experienced a “pretty significant setback” in the 2015 federal election, but was upbeat about the NDP MPs holding six of seven seats on Vancouver Island.
As for his fast-track to the 2019 election campaign, he is already challenging the federal Liberals for “not implementing any strategy to fight climate change”. Singh says the NDP are opposed to the infrastructure bank set up by the Liberals, though perhaps not realizing the jobs and community growth that it supports.
Singh got two spontaneous standing ovations during his speech… once for his statement that no Canadian should have “less of a sense of self worth” because of the colour of their skin, and again with his statement of the obvious that “poverty, mental health issues and addiction are social justice problems, not a criminal problem”. As a former criminal defence lawyer, that last statement really had some punch.
It is always evident how the NDP across Canada rally together to support new stars on their team. The only chink in that armor is the differential between Alberta’s NDP Premier Rachel Notley and BC Premier John Horgan over the pipeline issues.
Singh wrapped up his articulate, in-depth yet buoyant speech with “yes we can”.
Saturday, November 4 ~ VICTORIA. The BC NDP annual convention is underway in downtown Victoria, continuing through Sunday. This morning BC Premier John Horgan made his first address to his followers as premier. This afternoon national NDP leader Jagmeet Singh will address the crowds.
In his speech to delegates this morning, Premier John Horgan said: “Guided by our values, we will do what is right for the people of BC.” Horgan generated large cheers throughout his speech, but the loudest came when he told delegates he will set his sights high and not accept second best.
After a special welcome to delegates from the BC Interior who were impacted by this past summer’s wildfires, Horgan continued: “Helping people and building community — these are BC values, and they are New Democrat values. BC is with you, and together we will help you recover. Helping people is what our government is all about. The BC Liberals left people behind. They gave tax breaks to millionaires while making families pay more. They ripped up contracts. They rolled back rights for workers. They cut vital public services. And they mismanaged BC’s crown jewels, ICBC and BC Hydro.”
Horgan re-promised the increase to a $15/hour minimum wage, and took additional pride in having created a standalone Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions. “Help, hope and opportunity is what a better BC is all about,” the Premier said. “Our government is opening the doors of opportunity for people. We lifted social assistance rates by $100 a month, the first increase in 10 years. We hired thousands of teachers to give students the support they need in our classrooms. We ended the heartless bus pass claw-back for people with disabilities. We eliminated tuition fees for Adult Basic Education and English Language Learning programs, and for former kids in care who want to go to college or university.”
Getting deeper into the political, Horgan said “the BC Liberals say we haven’t acted fast enough. We’ve had 16 weeks, they had 16 years.” We are going to build hospitals, schools, transit, with BC workers to benefit BC communities.
He pledged to continue supporting traditional industries like forestry and mining, and to promote value-added and manufacturing. He says the BC NDP government will “grow the new economy and create good jobs for people as we build our province”. And in wrapping up: “Together, we will build a stronger, fairer, more just province, where no one is left behind.”
Saturday, November 4 ~ VICTORIA. The real estate market in the Greater Victoria area is shifting rather rapidly. But the Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB) says the market is still stable. A total of 664 properties sold in Greater Victoria in October 2017. That’s 9.7% fewer than the 735 properties sold in October last year.
VREB says the longer term picture shows October sales as 17.1% above the 10-year average of 567 properties for the month of October. They conclude: “The market is still very active here in Victoria… in spite of the ongoing low inventory levels.”
For Greater Victoria overall, the actual sales average of 294 sales was $854,833 (data-adjusted HPI $690,000, down from $700,800 in July which is considered the peak month before the market began its sudden adjustment).
October in the west shore: Langford: actual sales average $761,550 for 45 sales (HPI $589,800 down from $592,300 in July). Colwood: 17 sales averaged a real average of $664,582 (HPI $646,600 down from $660,400 in July). Sooke: 27 sales produced a real sales average of $514,048 (HPI $479,900 on par with $479,100 in July). View Royal: 12 sales averaged $623,750 (HPI $707,300 up from $687,400 in July).
Friday, November 3 ~ VICTORIA. Today through Sunday (November 3 to 5) over 1,000 New Democrats are gathering at the Victoria Conference Centre for the BC NDP’s 45th Convention.
Party Leader John Horgan will address fellow party members for the first time since becoming Premier, on Saturday morning. “We’re thrilled to be here in Premier John Horgan’s hometown,” said Raj Sihota, the Provincial Director of the BC NDP. It’s the first convention in 16 years with an NDP government in the Legislature. There will be discussion about how to grow the party to “support the good work of our government and keep building a movement for a better BC,” said Sihota in a news release.
Delegates will debate policy resolutions, participate in training and workshops and hear from guest speakers including Jagmeet Singh, newly elected federal NDP leader.
The BC NDP say they remain committed to the issues British Columbians voted for this spring: “making life more affordable, improving the services we all count on, and building a sustainable economy that works for everyone”.
There will be caucus and committee meetings, the Young New Democrat Convention, the Women’s Rights Committee Convention, and an election for Party leadership.
Friday, November 3 ~ VANCOUVER. BC is jumping deeper into the Amazon world. Today November 3, BC Premier John Horgan welcomed Amazon’s plans to double the size of its professional workforce in British Columbia.
“We’re growing a strong, sustainable economy that benefits everyone, by bringing good-paying jobs to BC and investing in training the workforce of tomorrow,” Premier Horgan said at a media announcement in downtown Vancouver this morning.
“We will build on Amazon’s plans to bring 1,000 new jobs to BC by continuing to open up access to education and skills training.” The Seattle-based company has announced plans to double its BC-based professional workforce to 2,000 by early 2020.
The announcement is unrelated to Amazon’s plans to open a second headquarters.
Premier Horgan was joined by Alexandre Gagnon, Amazon’s vice-president for Canada and Mexico, announcing that the company will lease a new 4,500 sq m (50,000 sq ft) building on Dunsmuir Street.
“Tech companies employ more than 100,000 people in BC, with significant opportunities for growth,” said Jobs, Trade and Technology Minister Bruce Ralston. “Amazon’s investment contributes to an industry that creates well-paying jobs that will benefit every corner of our province.”
Jobs in tech pay 75% more than the provincial average. The BC government will help British Columbians develop the skills they need to get these high-paying jobs with more tech-related seats, co-op programs and other post-secondary and skills training opportunities.
“The message we are hearing from leaders in the tech industry is they will hire as many people as we can train,” said Parliamentary Secretary for Technology Rick Glumac. “We’re bringing down barriers for BC workers because the more we invest in people, the more companies will invest in BC.”
The provincial government says it is investing in the future of BC workers by bringing down barriers to post-secondary education and skills training. Since August 2017, government has cut the provincial student loan interest rate in half, removed tuition fees for adult basic education and English as a second language programs, and eliminated post-secondary tuition for children who grew up in government care.Bill Tam, president and CEO of the BC Tech Association, said BC’s skilled workforce is one of the reasons tech investors are attracted to the province.
“Amazon’s decision to expand in BC is a testament to the growing recognition of our tech sector on the global stage,” Tam said. “BC continues to be a desirable destination for tech companies to locate and grow, because of our province’s vibrant tech community, our attractive investment climate and exceptional talent base.”
BC saw a 1.9% rise in the number of new technology companies in 2015, growing to over 10,000 businesses. More than $200 million is being invested over the next two years in tech and science post-secondary capital projects in British Columbia. The GDP of BC’s tech sector expanded 2.4% in 2015, contributing $14.1 billion to BC’s overall economic output.
Thursday, November 2 ~ BC. After a final push to invite public input, the number of people filling out the BC Cannabis Regulation Engagement survey online saw about 18,000 engagements in the last of five weeks.
As of October 25 about 30,000 British Columbians had participated, and by the November 1 closing, 48,151 individuals had provided feedback on on topics about non-medicinal cannabis such as minimum age, personal possession limits, public consumption, drug-impaired driving, personal cultivation, and distribution and retail models.
The Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General says “an unprecedented number of people shared their opinions to help shape the way non-medical cannabis will be regulated in BC”.
In five weeks (September 25 to November 1) the BC Cannabis Regulation Engagement website saw 127,952 visits, with 48,151 British Columbians filling out the feedback form. As well, through a random survey by phone, 800 opinions were received from a representative cross-section of British Columbians. Government also received over 130 written submissions from organizations including local governments, school districts, cannabis industry, advocacy groups and law enforcement.
Engagement with local governments, Indigenous governments and organizations, and stakeholders from law enforcement, health, agriculture and other sectors is ongoing. In addition, the Province and Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) have established a Joint Provincial-Local Government Committee on Cannabis Regulation made up of 12 representatives from UBCM and provincial representatives from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General.
The BC Government says the feedback collected through this engagement process will help ensure the provincial regulatory framework for non-medical cannabis reflects the needs and values of British Columbians, while prioritizing the protection of young people, health and safety, keeping the criminal element out of cannabis and keeping roads safe. Over the next few weeks, the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General will review and analyze the feedback received and create a summary report on what was heard that will be made available to the public.
Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, said: “I’d like to thank everyone who participated in our various engagements regarding cannabis legalization over the last five weeks. It’s now our job to do the hard work, take your feedback and perspectives and use them to develop a responsible, made-in-BC approach to regulating non-medical cannabis that maximizes public health and safety.”
Wednesday, November 1. Daylight Savings Time is coming to an end for this year. On Sunday November 5, 2017 Daylight Saving Time ends at 2:00 am. That’s the time to turn your clocks back one hour to instead be 1:00 a.m.
Sunrise and sunset will be about one hour earlier on November 5 than the day before. There will be more light in the morning.
If you forget which way to turn the clock, just remember ‘Fall Back’ (and ‘Spring Forward’, when it comes time for that in spring 2018). Of course, nowadays most clocks are within automated devices like computers, appliances and cars, and so the displayed time is programmed to change without you having to do anything.
Tuesday, October 31. BC Premier John Horgan wrapped up his weekly news conference at the legislature today with “Happy Halloween everybody” after he had touched on various important matters that media queried him on.
Regarding the BC NDP convention coming up this weekend November 3 to 5 at the Victoria Convention Centre, he said that delegates will be discussing a range of policies and initiatives, with debate on each. “People are passionate about issues on the convention floor,” said Horgan. He identified contentious issues as things people are discussing across BC in every community including “the transforming economy, and the carbon constrained economy. Attending to matters of climate change is “now mandated by the federal government” along with many other countries, “to change the way we’re doing business”. On that Horgan said: “I want to lead a government that’s enabling that change in a positive way.”
Premier Horgan says his government will “take every step to protect rural representation” during the process of riding redistribution. In his 12 years in the legislature he says he’s seen in the three redistributions that rural representation is being lost through a deviation of seat sizes. And with a tip of the hat to proportional representation, Horgan says he will “not shy away from changing a system that gives 100% power to 50% of the voters.”
The matter of BC Hydro billing rates came up. The BC NDP government hopes to be “protecting rate payers from rate shock,” Horgan said, noting that hydro rates under the previous government went up “far faster than rate of inflation and far faster than in other jurisdictions”. The BC Liberal government set a five-year rate increase of 28.5% in motion in 2014 that has burdened families and households with a significant increase to the cost of living.
On provincial budget: “We have a team working now through the Minister of Finance, to get to some solution on deferred debt. It’s just not sustainable.” The previous BC Liberal government used BC Hydro rates “as a cash cow … borrowing money and deferring debt to make the budget look balance,” Horgan explained. His government will try to “reduce the long term costs on rate payers”. “(Former Energy Minister) Bill Bennett said it was under control, it’s far from under control,” said Premier John Horgan.
The opioid problem is across BC. “It’s not acceptable to the public and not to me,” said Horgan. “All British Columbians want this to get this wrestled to the ground.” He says the federal government has given the “right language, but not sufficient resources it seems to me”. A formerly strong and high profile Minister of Health Jane Philpott in August was moved to another file, with Horgan saying it’s taking time for the new Minister of Health Ginette Petitpas Taylor to bring things up to speed. In BC, Horgan says there are more safe injection sites and replacement programs in place. “I’m personally disappointed at the numbers of deaths going up right across the province.” Horgan says later this week he expects to be talking with the federal government on other issues and that whenever he gets the chance he’s ‘pushing’ for more attention to the opioid crisis. “It’s not moving fast enough,” he said, but feels that his “positive working relationships with Ministers here in BC and with the Prime Minister” will help.
The BC government says its goal is to build a provincial regulatory framework for non-medical cannabis that “prioritizes the protection of young people, health and safety, locking criminals out of the industry, and keeping roads safe”.
Specifically, to help ensure that BC’s provincial cannabis regulatory system reflects the needs and values of British Columbians, government is seeking feedback on the following issues:
- minimum age;
- personal possession limits;
- public consumption;
- drug-impaired driving;
- personal cultivation; and
- distribution and retail models.
It’s an opportunity to “become a part of history and help ensure the framework best represents their interests and priorities”, it was stated in a release from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General on October 25.
The deadline is 4 pm on Wednesday November 1 to comment on issues such as minimum age, personal possession limits, consumption in public, drug-impaired driving, personal cultivation, distribution and retail models. See: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/BCcannabisregulation/
Since September 25, over 30,000 British Columbians have completed the survey and provided feedback.
Friday, October 27 ~ LANGFORD. Last night the Best of the West Shore awards gala was held at Bear Mountain Resort. About 300 business people and guests sat through a few hours of the proverbial drum roll as winners and runners-up in each category were announced at the event hosted by the West Shore Chamber of Commerce with the Goldstream Gazette as their media partner.
West Shore Voice News (Vancouver Island media partner with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business during Small Business Week last week) was one of the several in-kind sponsors of the event.
Various business owners were called up to present awards, with lots of promo to go around while people continued with the buffet dinner, dessert, coffee and cash bar.
Momentum was maintained through the evening by the West Shore Chamber’s Josh Schmidt who was witty and upbeat as the emcee.
Over 22,000 votes had been cast online over a five-week period in the late summer up to early September to produce the winners.
Best New Business, Best Business and Best Customer Service all went to Cascadia Liquor for three of their six island locations – Colwood, Langford and Eagle Ridge. Financial Services top award was claimed by Coast Capital Savings. Best New Development was won by Westhills, followed by Royal Bay and Spirit Bay.
Always a big presence in the awards each year is food and entertainment. Best for Breakfast went to Floyd’s Diner, Best Restaurant was claimed by My Chosin Cafe, and Best Ethnic Cuisine was won by Sabhai Thai. Best Independent Coffee Shop this year went to Poncho’s Coffee House, with Pilgrim Coffee House and Serious Coffee as runners-up. Best for Entertainment went to Elements Casino, followed by Cineplex Odeon and Western Speedway. Best Pub was won by Darcy’s Pub. Best Golf Club was won by Olympic View Golf Club, with Westin Bear Mountain and Royal Colwood as the runners-up.
In the fitness zone, Best Bicycle Shop was claimed by Goldstream Bicycles, and Best Martial Arts was won by Clark’s Taekwondo. Best Yoga was won by Moksha Yoga Westshore. Best Place for Fitness went to YMCA-YWCA Langford-Westhills. For health support services, Best Wellness/Health Practice went to Mandala Center for Health & Wellness and Best Dental/Denture Clinic went to Colwood Dental Group.
In the pampering department, winners were Santa Spa Victoria (for Best Spa/Aesthetics), Cabello Salon (for Best Hair Salon), and Brown’s The Florist (for Best Flower/Garden Shop).
Best Pet Clinic was won by Juan de Fuca Veterinary Clinic, with runners up Glenview Animal Hospital and Belmont Langford Veterinary Hospital.
And the basics: Best Grocery Store went to Thrifty Foods, Best Retailer went to Winners/HomeSense, and Best Storage went to WestShore U-Lock Mini Storage. Best Auto Service was won by Alpine Auto Repair & Tirecraft, with runners up Great Canadian Oil Change and Glen Lake Automotive Centre.
Best First Nations Business was won by the Indigenous Perspectives Society with M’akola Group of Societies as the runner-up. Favourite non-profit was Coast Collective Arts Centre.
Including Mother Nature in the mix, the best beach was won by Esquimalt Lagoon, followed up by Witty’s Lagoon and Thetis Lake. Best Hiking Trail went to Thetis Lake, while Best Fishing Spot went to Langford Lake.
Other sponsors of the event were Peninsula Co-op, Royal Roads University, Elements Casino, University of Victoria, Bear Mountain Resort Community, Coastal Community, Camosun College, Brown’s the Florist, Pacific Coastal Airlines, Wilson Marshall Law Corporation, Coast Capital, Seriously Creative, TELUS, SOHO, Bubbles Balloons, Brookes Westshore, Heritage House Trophies, and My Chosin Cafe.
Speeches that got the most attention amid the din in the room were ones that commented on the importance of women starting and building businesses, and the growth of indigenous-involved businesses.
Wednesday, October 25, 2017 ~ BC. Local governments throughout BC have until November 1, 2017 to provide feedback on the provincial discussion paper, Cannabis Legalization and Regulation in British Columbia.
The Province will draw upon feedback obtained through the engagement process as it considers key policy decisions that will form the foundation of its legalized cannabis framework, it was stated today by the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM).
UBCM encourages all local governments to provide submissions to ensure that feedback provided to Province represents the diversity of our membership. Local government responses to the discussion paper will be considered as a separate cohort among the feedback provided.
Many people across Canada already use cannabis products for medicinal reasons. Recreational users often incur criminal records for simple possession, something that will likely fade away after the federal government brings in their new laws and regulations in July 2018.
Considered by pretty much all stakeholders to be a positive aspect of the upcoming legislation is to keep marijuana products out of the hands of youth (for health and safety reasons), and to control or eliminate the current black-market and criminal element of marijuana sales. The federal government will gain tax revenues under the new legislation. Provincial and municipal governments also stand to gain financially under the new laws and regulations.
For many, a major concern remains about road safety related to cannabis use. While for alcohol consumption the roadside blood-alcohol level testing has become mainstream, the ways and means for testing one’s state of clarity while operating a motor vehicle under the influence of marijuana remains to be fully determined.
Presently on the west shore of Vancouver Island:
>> In Sooke, a few marijuana-product outlets have already been operating in the town centre area for almost two years. About that… Sooke Council has had discussions but is essentially waiting for federal legislation to come into effect. Today Sooke Mayor Maja Tait (who sits on the UBCM executive) told West Shore Voice: “We received a staff report on Monday and will send a response summarizing the highlighted concerns within. These regulations and the Provincial request pertain to the Federal Government’s legalization of non-medical cannabis, that was the focus of our Agenda.”
>> In Colwood, the City of Colwood Council has had discussions about cannabis legalization and regulation, as well as participating in discussions at the Association of Vancouver Island Coastal Communities and Union of BC Municipalities conferences. “The City will adhere to the current Colwood Land Use Bylaw and Business Bylaw until such time as the Federal and Provincial governments provide direction regarding legalization,” said Colwood’s communications manager Sandra Russell today. The Colwood Land Use and Business Bylaws currently prohibits marijuana dispensaries other than a licensed pharmacy or premises licensed under the “Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations”.
>> In Langford, a few marijuana product outlets that have opened have been quickly shut down through bylaw-related mechanisms. No statement on this topic was provided from the City of Langford today.
> Link to the Cannabis Legalization and Regulation in BC discussion paper: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/app/uploads/sites/217/2017/09/Cannabis-Legalization-and-Regulation-in-BC_Discussion-Paper.pdf
Wednesday, October 25 ~ BC. Funding from the BC Government is available to manage urban deer, it was announced today by the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
Up to $100,000 will be provided to local governments and First Nations communities (that are involved in urban deer activities or research into population control methods) to help fund urban deer management projects under the 2017-18 Provincial Urban Deer Cost-share Program. Applications due on or before November 17, 2017, info: 2017-18 Urban Deer Cost-share Program Application Guide
Eligible proposals will be evaluated by members of the Provincial Urban Deer Advisory Committee which includes reps from the Province, local governments, the Union of BC Municipalities and the BC Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Successful proponents will be advised in December.
Projects that address human-deer conflict in areas where traditional deer management techniques are not appropriate will be given priority. Matching funds are required from any local government or First Nation that applies.
There are about 135,000 mule deer, 128,000 black-tail deer and more than 100,000 white-tail deer in BC. Deer are managed in BC by the BC Government which authorizes municipalities to undertake urban deer management actions. Provincial support includes technical advice, regulatory authority, necessary permits, specialized equipment and other management tools.
Tuesday, October 24 ~ BC. BC’s three nursing colleges will be able to form one organization, providing a single set of bylaws for consistent structures, processes and an improved patient experience, as a result of amendments introduced today by Health Minister Adrian Dix.
Amendments to the Health Professions Act set the stage for the provincial nursing colleges to amalgamate, providing greater consistency for the profession and one point of contact for patients and partners.
The amendments allow for any of BC’s health profession colleges to amalgamate. This was prompted by a request from the nursing colleges to help streamline regulation.
In recent years, the College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of BC (CRPNBC), College of Licensed Practical Nurses of BC (CLPNBC) and College of Registered Nurses of BC (CRNBC) have been working together on nursing regulations and standards, and have become more aligned in their efforts. This legislation lets them take the next step and amalgamate.
The Health Professions Act states that it is the duty of the college to protect and serve the public at all times. With this in mind, the legislation will also allow for the appointment of an administrator for a health profession college. This is a safeguard in the event that a college board is seen to be acting to protect the interest of the health profession instead of the patient.
Patient safety will also be further supported as amendments will ensure that infection control breaches can be reported to public health officials in a timely manner. For example, if poor sterilizing practices are observed, the amendments will ensure they can be reported immediately. Currently, while any breach can be reported, it must first go through college investigation processes instead of directly to public health officials in a timely manner.
There are approximately 55,000 nurses licensed in BC. The CRPNBC regulates registered psychiatric nurses, the CLPNBC regulates licensed practical nurses and the CRNBC regulates registered nurses and nurse practitioners.
A single nursing regulator also exists in Ontario, the United Kingdom and Australia, with Nova Scotia exploring a similar approach.
Friday, October 20 ~ LANGFORD. The City of Langford has now submitted its bid to become home to the new Amazon HQ2, a second headquarters for the online retailer that would be similar in size to their existing headquarters in Seattle. The bid intention was first announced last month by Langford Mayor Stew Young (see page 1 in the September 22, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News).
As one of the fastest growing and innovative cities in Canada (population now over 40,000), the City of Langford has the resources, political will and business climate to ensure Amazon’s HQ2 is a resounding success.
The actual bid document that met the October 19 submission deadline has not been made public, but apparently identifies a number of serviced, development-ready areas within and around the City of Langford that would meet the needs of Amazon. Amazon would require 8.1 million sq ft of operational space. The bid also highlighted the capacity for Langford’s neighbourhoods — including Westhills and Bear Mountain — to continue to grow and accommodate the influx of anticipated workers arriving over multiple years.
Prepared in partnership with the BC Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology, the City of Langford’s Economic Development Committee, the Sooke Economic Development Commission, the Malahat Nation, and multiple businesses and regional partners, the bid showcased the capacity of the region to be home to any global enterprise.
The bid also underscored the ability of the south island region to lure the best and brightest. “With competitive wages, affordable and high quality housing, and world-class recreational opportunities, our post-secondary institutions and tech sector are leaders in developing, attracting and retaining first-class talent,” said Dale Gann, Chair of the Amazon HQ2 Bid Committee.
The bid spoke to Langford’s proven track record for successfully partnering with business. “We always have been, and always will be, open for business,” said Mayor Stew Young. “Langford will continue to expedite the permitting process and minimize red tape to ensure that all businesses, including Amazon, can grow and thrive.”
Building HQ2 will generate $5 billion for the successful host community just in construction alone, with jobs and economic spinoffs after that. Langford is up against major cities through Canada and the US for a chance at this big project.
The video component of Langford’s bid to Amazon can be viewed online comprising a 1 minute, 40-second overview of housing, post-secondary and affordability aspects of the west shore area in which Langford is central.
Friday, October 20 ~ VANCOUVER. Newborns, children and expectant mothers from all around the province will be cared for in the new Teck Acute Care Centre, located on the campus of BC Children’s Hospital and BC Women’s Hospital, officially opened today by BC Premier John Horgan, health care workers and patients.
“When children need hospital care, they should be in a place that feels like home, where they can play, exercise their imagination, and be surrounded by family to help them heal,” said Premier Horgan. “This new centre means better care for thousands of patients and their families from every part of B.C. who access the building.”
Each area of the building is modelled after a different part of BC with the hope that children, women and their families can feel at home. The room where medical procedures, such as bone marrow extractions, are performed will have a ceiling lit with as many as 100 twinkling LED lights. These lights will recreate the night sky over Vancouver and show major constellations.
“The new acute-care centre will provide improved comfort and privacy for families in their time of need,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix. “A perfect example of this is the centre’s neonatal intensive care unit, which is designed to keep new moms together with their babies in the same room, helping to promote bonding and reduce stress. This model of care means less separation for families and is a key way to help ensure these vulnerable babies get the very best start in life.”
The Teck Acute Care Centre — which opens to patients on October 29, 2017 — will serve the entire province. It features a larger children’s emergency department, additional patient beds and an expanded neonatal intensive care unit – all equipped with single-patient rooms. Patients and families will have access to laundry facilities, family lounges and dining rooms, play areas, resource rooms, and storage space. Natural light and green spaces will add to the health and well-being of patients and staff.
The eight-floor, 59,400 sq m (640,000 sq ft) centre has 231 private patient rooms, medical/surgical in-patient units, medical imaging, procedural suites, a hematology/oncology/ bone marrow transplant department, a pediatric intensive care unit, and a high-risk labour and delivery suite.
Also opening is the BC Women’s Urgent Care Centre, which will provide care for women throughout their pregnancies and up to six weeks post-birth. The urgent-care centre, which is expected to see approximately 13,000 patients a year, includes 10 larger, single-patient rooms that will provide a quieter space with increased privacy for new moms and families.
The Teck Acute Care Centre opening marks the completion of the second phase of the BC Children’s and BC Women’s Redevelopment Project, a three-phase, multi-year initiative at BC Children’s Hospital and BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre.
“We want to recognize the Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) and the BC government for having built an extraordinary facility that will transform child health care in BC,” said Don Lindsay, chair of the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, and president and CEO of Teck. “We also want to acknowledge the generous support from over 80,000 British Columbians who supported the Campaign for BC Children. Teck and its employees throughout BC are incredibly proud to have played a role in making this new hospital a reality.”
“I am proud to say phase two of this ambitious project was delivered on time and on budget,” said Tim Manning, Provincial Health Services Authority board chair. “Today we applaud the countless hours of work by our partners, our patients and families, and our health-care teams, along with those who generously donated to the project.”
Susan Wannamaker, president of BC Children’s and Women’s Health, praised the efforts of staff and physicians at both hospitals. “They have great enthusiasm for the new space, technology and equipment that will continue to support the exceptional care they provide. It showed in their willingness to embrace the training and preparations in anticipation of patient move day.”
“The new facility will help the hospitals attract and retain the very top health professionals and clinical staff,” Wannamaker added.
Phase three of the redevelopment project includes relocating Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children to the Oak Street Campus and the addition of 10 single-room maternity-care spaces at BC Women’s Hospital. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2018. The total cost of the three-phase redevelopment project is estimated at $676 million.
Friday, October 20 ~ LANGFORD. An expansive collection of classical music can now be streamed by Greater Victoria Public Library cardholders. The Naxos Music Library holds over 132,000 albums and two millions tracks including a selection of world, jazz, pop and rock.
As an educational resource, Naxos also provides composer biographies, a musical terms glossary, opera libretti, and a junior section.
The service officially launches on Saturday October 21 at the Langford Heritage Branch from 11 am to 3 pm in their shared complex at 1314 Lakepoint Way in Westhills. Musicians from the Victoria Conservatory of Music will be playing at the library through the four-hour event. The public is welcome.
“This new collection will give music lovers access to recordings by major performers from around the world produced by prominent record labels like Sony Classical, RCA and Deutsche Grammophon,” said Maureen Sawa, CEO, Greater Victoria Public Library. “October is BC Library Month, and we are celebrating with the universal language of music.” Funds for the collection were provided by a generous donor who wishes to remain anonymous.
“The Victoria Conservatory of Music is thrilled to be a part of the Naxos launch, and this is just one great example of the creative synergy that comes with sharing such an amazing space in Westhills,” said Christine Gross, manager of marketing, communications and social media at the Conservatory.
GVPL’s launch of Naxos coincides with an announcement that the Pacific Opera Victoria will be joining the library’s Culture and Recreation Pass program, which lets library cardholders borrow passes to local attractions and facilities. The first passes will be available for POV’s February production of Puccini’s La Bohème. More details will be announced in early 2018.
“Pacific Opera Victoria looks forward to sharing the opera experience with the community through our partnership with the Greater Victoria Public Library,” said Ian Rye, CEO, Pacific Opera Victoria.
“Patrons can borrow a culture pass to see a live performance, and continue listening with Naxos recordings,” said Rob Martin, chair of the Library Board and municipal councillor for Colwood. “The library has it all. We support learning experiences that enrich our lives and expand our minds.”
Wednesday, October 18 ~ BC. Premier John Horgan delivered a message of strong support, including lower taxes, to help kick off Small Business Week and Manufacturing Week (Oct. 16 to Oct. 20). British Columbia’s small businesses are showing strong signs of growth and creating jobs for people throughout BC according to a new report issued on Monday, October 16.
“Small businesses are the economic engines of BC’s communities and create good jobs for people throughout the province,” said Premier Horgan. “We’re working hard to make sure that small businesses and manufacturers have the support they need. That’s why we’re reducing the small business tax rate to 2% from 2.5% and establishing a Small Business Task Force to help strengthen and grow the sector in BC”.
The Small Business Profile 2017 report shows that employment in BC’s small-business sector grew faster in 2016 than at any time in the past decade, with more than one million people employed in small businesses last year. However, that growth statistic is not surprising, in that most small businesses were severely impacted by the long drawn-out recession and recovery period after the crash in 2008.
The BC government says that small businesses produced more than one-third of provincial GDP in 2016 and $15.8 billion in exports in 2015, an increase of nearly $3 billion over the previous year.
Long the entrepreneurial energy in BC, the latest numbers show that BC leads the country in growth in the number of new small businesses and has the highest number of small businesses per capita across Canada, with small business making up 98% of all businesses in the province.
“There are significant growth opportunities ahead in advanced manufacturing, while the growth of small and medium-sized businesses can be fast-tracked by relying more on the use of technology,” said Jobs, Trade and Technology Minister Bruce Ralston. “Small businesses and manufacturers help create well-paying jobs for British Columbians throughout the province, and are major contributors to the provincial economy.”
As part of Small Business Week, the Province has partnered with Small Business BC to offer free professional seminars, webinars and ‘Ask the Expert’ services for small businesses during this time. Entrepreneurs and organizations representing small businesses and manufacturers will be marking both Small Business Week and Manufacturing Week with events throughout the province.
“We at Small Business BC are thrilled to partner with the Government of BC for Small Business Week to provide our high-quality training and expert advice to small businesses, free of charge,” said Sandra Miles, chair of Small Business BC. “By making it possible to share these valuable tools for free, the Province is giving small business owners the opportunity to learn, grow, and succeed in their endeavours.”
As many of BC’s manufacturers are small businesses, declaring Manufacturing Week and Small Business Week together provides an opportunity for stakeholders to take advantage of events supporting both sectors.
“Manufacturing is a critical part of BC’s economy, contributing 7.2% of GDP,” said Andrew Wynn-Williams, vice-president of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters BC Division. “We also produce some fascinating products in BC and Manufacturing Week gives us an opportunity to profile for the public the nature of the industry and some of the cool things we make.” Manufacturing Week in BC is part of a broader national Manufacturing Month initiative led by Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) to profile manufacturing across Canada, and is intended to boost the public profile of the manufacturing sector’s contributions to the economy.
Small businesses make up 98% of all businesses in BC, generating 34% of provincial GDP in 2016, above the Canadian average of 31%. Small businesses were the source of 32% of all wages paid to workers in BC last year, the highest share of all provinces and above the Canadian average of less than 27%.
Employment in BC’s small business sector climbed 3.1% in 2016, the highest rate of growth in over a decade. Approximately 1,056,300 British Columbians worked in small businesses in 2016, accounting for 54% of total private-sector employment, above the national average of 49%. Small businesses in BC shipped $15.8 billion worth of goods to international destinations in 2015, making up 42% of all provincial exports. Small businesses comprise almost 96% of employers in the high-technology sector.
British Columbia had the highest number of small businesses per capita in Canada in 2016, with 83.4 small businesses per 1,000 people. The national average was 69.9.
When it comes to the manufacturing sector, that’s a significant economic driver for the province, generating $16 billion for BC’s economy and supporting approximately 170,000 jobs. Manufacturing wages are 15.5% higher than the overall average for all industries, according to CME. There are more than 7,200 manufacturing companies in British Columbia. The manufacturing sector’s focus on export markets and innovation supports job growth across every manufacturing sub-sector in the province, including aerospace, marine, pharmaceuticals, agriculture and apparel. Manufactured goods account for 58% of BC’s total goods exports to international destinations. Manufacturing Week is held in conjunction with CME’s Manufacturing Month and highlights the role BC’s manufacturers play in creating well-paying jobs throughout the province.
Tuesday, October 17 ~ NATIONAL. Small businesses are the getting the break they were promised! Announced yesterday at the start of Small Business Week across Canada, the federal government announced that the small business tax rate in Canada will get back to 9% by 2019, as promised by Trudeau during the 2015 federal election campaign. Presently it’s 10.5% and it will go to 10% at January 1, 2018 before it gets to 9% the year after that.
Naturally this is good news for small business. No one can argue or resist a reduction in tax rate. As part of the federal announcement was the claim that it could save up to $7,500 per year for small businesses once the full rate reduction is in place. While that helps, it’s not an enormous sum in light of the continued struggle of small business in an economy where big players largely rule the roost.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) put out a statement welcoming the federal government’s decision to reinstate its promise to reduce the small business corporate tax rate to 9%.
“I am pleased to see the government make good on its commitment to lower the small business rate by 2019,” said CFIB president Dan Kelly. “This decision will pump hundreds of millions of dollars back into the small business community, helping them create more jobs and grow the economy.”
“Still, the changes to rules allowing business owners to share income with their family members remain a concern for middle-income businesses.”
CFIB is pleased the government has provided some clarity on the new rules around income-sprinkling – particularly, they will no longer be moving forward with measures that limit access to the lifetime capital gains exemption. However, CFIB remains concerned that the changes may not reflect the many formal and informal ways family members participate in the business.
“We are worried that the income sprinkling changes will keep the benefits of business ownership out of the hands of many spouses who participate in more informal ways in the business – particularly women,” said Kelly.
CFIB is anxiously awaiting details on passive income rules and the treatment of capital gains related to business succession. “We will wait for details and analysis on all the changes before passing judgment on the entire package,” added Kelly.
“As Small Business Week begins, I am heartened by the outpouring of support for small businesses over the past three months. CFIB will be providing direct feedback to government on the full package of changes in the weeks ahead.”
For Small Business Week check out www.shopsmallbiz.ca and on Twitter #SmallBizSaturday
Monday, October 16 ~ SOOKE. Log giveaway in Sooke. About 60 to 80 cords of alderwood have recently been logged from Lot A on Wadams Way in Sooke. The logs lie exhausted in a big pile by the fence along Sooke Road at Kaltasin Road in the District of Sooke’s workyard.
It’s quite a sight for those who live in other areas of Greater Victoria where felling even one tree in protected areas generates quite an uproar.
It’s just one more indication that while Sooke tries to include itself in the urban swath for services like getting a hospital or clinic, the region is still firmly connected to its rural roots.
The land clearing at Lot A is to make way for construction of the new, long-promised Sooke library (opening now pushed well into 2019, it was stated in a Vancouver Island Regional Library release in recent weeks).
Sooke Council took several awkward minutes off-line (microphones deliberately turned off) at their October 10 meeting to review “new information” as Mayor Maja Tait put it, after senior staff declined the mayor’s request to verbally brief council on the logging report. That’s a council-staff dynamic you don’t see in many municipal councils — mayor and council unprepared and senior administrative staff refusing to support a smooth presentation, and/or an attempt to reveal disclosure of some discussion.
The audience chatted and fidgeted during what was clearly a break in the meeting as Mayor and council read the report and had some discussions. Online viewers got a good chunk of silence to watch. With the webcast back on, Sooke Fire Chief Kenn Mount was then asked to provide some technical information.
Political options for what to do with the logs included offering them to non-profits for resale as fundraising opportunities, or selling the logs as firewood and keeping the proceeds of direct sale for the district’s own budget. As an active micro-management exercise, the Mayor lured real-time advertising-booking commitments out of council.
Councillor Kerrie Reay said the district is “always looking for money” and therefore supported direct sale of the logs and keeping the proceeds for the municipal budget, as did Councillor Brenda Parkinson who said the funds could be directed to the Community Grants budget.
Councillors Rick Kasper and Kevin Pearson spoke in favour of donating the logs to non-profits, if such groups would have the skill and means to produce firewood from the large logs (and are covered by suitable liability insurance). That last option is what council approved. Certain groups in town will be more easily connected with logging skills than others, so it is a political tip of the hat to the loggers and firewood buffs in the community.
Friday, October 13 ~ BC. “ShakeOutBC is a great opportunity to break from our routines, practice our earthquake response and take a moment to reflect on our level of preparedness,” says Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness.
“We each have a duty to prepare our family and our community for emergencies.” We encourages people to participate in the Drop, Cover and Hold On drill on Oct 19.
BC sits in one of the world’s most seismically active regions, with more than 3,000 earthquakes recorded every year. Most are too small to be felt, but the risk of one being big enough to cause damage is real.
The best immediate response in an earthquake is to Drop, Cover and Hold On. Thousands of people practice this life-saving technique every year as part of the Great BC ShakeOut which is Canada’s largest earthquake drill.
Families, schools, businesses or organizations can register for ShakeOutBC at www.shakeoutbc.ca/register
Wednesday, October 11 ~ WEST SHORE. The upgraded View Royal Casino — to be known as Elements Casino — is getting some on-the-ground promotion in the west shore area. Two recent events hosted by the West Shore Chamber of Commerce … a business showcase with 31 exhibitors at Eagle Ridge Arena on October 1 and tonight October 11 a business mixer at Darcy’s Pub, offered different angles on the promotion.
At the business showcase over 100 job applications were filled out by eager potential employees for the expanded facility. And at the mixer, BC Lottery Corporation (BCLC) director of public affairs Greg Walker spoke to those gathered about the new facility and how gaming grants support non-profits throughout the province. BCLC co-hosted the October 11 mixer.
Walker said that the community gaming grants “are one way we give back”. Municipalities rely on BCLC gaming grants to help with general operational budget support.
The View Royal casino will be more than doubled in size with a major upgrade (adding 42,000 sq ft), becoming Elements Casino aiming to open by in spring 2018.
There will also be 12 new table games with live dealers, to add to the current 15, and new dining venues such as a buffet, casual lounge and bar.
Some of the jobs for which people applied this month include servers and bartenders, chefs, cage cashier and count team attendants, card dealers, security officers, surveillance operators, and operational roles in finance, human resources and marketing.
Last year View Royal Mayor David Screech called the View Royal expansion project good news. “I’m thrilled with the announcement and the confirmation that View Royal clearly will remain the premier gaming facility in the region,” he had said. The gambling operation generated $71.8 million in revenue in the 2015-16 fiscal year, with $4.1 million going to West Shore municipalities. View Royal and Langford get about 45% each, with the remaining 10% shared among five other jurisdictions, said Screech.
The Government of BC founded BCLC over 30 years ago with the stated purpose of giving back to the citizens of BC and helping communities grow. Since 1985, their customers have helped invest $19 billion in health care, education and community programs. BCLC says that 88 cents of every dollar goes back into provincial tax revenues.
Tuesday, October 10 ~ BC. BC Premier John Horgan is visiting Alert Bay today following an invitation from Chief Bob Chamberlin of the Kwikwasutinuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation. Premier Horgan will hear from local First Nations leaders, elders and community members on a range of topics and particularly on the challenging issue of Atlantic salmon aquaculture. The meeting will run from 10:15 am to 2:30 pm at the ‘Namgis Traditional Big House.
Two Atlantic salmon fish farms in the region are currently being occupied by protestors. The industry generated $787 million in annual value in 2016 and supports about 5,000 rural and coastal jobs. B.C.’s new government is committed to implementing the recommendations of the Cohen Commission and working with Indigenous communities, the federal government and industry on the issue of Atlantic salmon aquaculture.
With Premier Horgan today in Alert Bay will be Scott Fraser, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation as well as Agriculture Minister Lana Popham and Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure and MLA for North Island Claire Trevena.
First Nations participants include: ‘Namgis First Nation, Dzawadaenuxw First Nation, Kwikwasutinuxw Haxwa’mis First Nation, Mamalalikula First Nation, and Kuterra land-raised salmon farm.
There were similar problems with Atlantic salmon acquaculture on the west side of Vancouver Island this past summer where an enclosure lost containment, allowing for the possible cross-contamination with natural Pacific salmon as well as competition for natural food sources.
Tuesday, October 10 ~ OTTAWA. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau are off to Washington today for two days, for business talks, social events and photo ops.
This visit takes place amidst a time of NAFTA negotiations, stresses with North Korea, and the political strain of the Black Lives Matter kneeling issue at professional sports events. Trudeau’s official public engagements focussing on women in business is a soft-edge diplomatic touch.
On Tuesday evening, The Trudeaus will attend the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit and Gala. On Wednesday morning,along with Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, the Trudeaus will participate in the Women One Roundtable Discussion. After that, the Prime Minister and Freeland will meet with the Committee on Ways and Means.
On Wednesday afternoon October 11, the Trudeaus will arrive at the White House and be greeted by US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump. Trudeau and Trump will meet privately around 2:05 pm, after which Trudeau is scheduled to meet with media around 3:40 pm.
There’s been a stone-cold drop in activity and a significant cooling in prices in many average-price areas of the Greater Victoria real estate market in recent weeks.
But in three areas actual sales price averages jumped dramatically between August and September: Langford was up by $55,150, East Saanich was up by $42,565 and North Saanich prices skyrocketed by $152,407. Prices in high-end Oak Bay notably dropped by almost $94,000 (only post-peak stock may have been available).
In September there were 18.1% fewer properties sold than a year ago. East Saanich is normally the bell-weather of pricing trends, and Langford seems to be following suit.
The Victoria Real Estate Board says the market is “trending slowly towards more balanced conditions and overall price increases are levelling”. But their own stats tell a different story. The trend is not slow. prices are ‘acting out’, and the most stable areas (East Saanich and Langford) show distinct upward pressure.
Two Bank of Canada interest rate hikes this summer cut the legs out from under the lower end of the market, hurting entry-level buyers and sellers of modest homes.
Housing inventory rose in September 2017 (up 3.1% from August) as properties have become more difficult to sell. In the fast-growing City of Langford the actual sale price of single family homes surpassed $700,000 last month while Colwood and Sooke prices plummeted.
This article was first published in the October 6, 2017 issue of West Shore Voice News.
Friday, October 6 ~ BC. BC Liberal MLA Todd Stone (MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson) will be making “a special announcement regarding the future of the party and the province” on Tuesday, October 10 in Surrey. He will also do campaign-style stops in Victoria and at Thompson Rivers University in his home town of Kamloops. He is expected to announce his candidacy to run for the BC Liberal leadership.
Stone was the Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure under the Christy Clark Liberal government from June 2013, during which time his Ministry launched a 10-year plan to expand and enhance highways and roads throughout BC. He also served as Minister Responsible for Emergency Management BC and Deputy Government House Leader. He was also a member of the Priorities and Planning Committee.
Former Liberal cabinet minister Peter Fassbender says BC needs a fresh vision to keep the province on track. The first of six BC Liberal candidate debates is set for October 15 in Surrey, with party members embarking upon their process to select a new leader to replace former premier Christy Clark by early February 2018.
Friday, October 6 ~ COASTAL BC. This morning was the first of several 6am sailings by BC Ferries vessels between Metro Vancouver and Victoria. The additional sailing time (sailings normally start at 8 am) is part of accommodating heavier ferry traffic on the busy Thanksgiving Long Weekend.
“It was a good load from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen this morning on the Coastal Renaissance,” said BC Ferries communications rep Deborah Marshall. There were 250 vehicles on board the Super C-Class vessel, which is about 80% of the ship’s 310-vehicle capacity.
There was also good use of the 6 am sailing from the Vancouver side over to the island. The Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay sailing on the Queen of New Westminster carried 150 vehicles which is 60% of the 250-vehicle full capacity.
There will be another set of 6 am sailings on Saturday October 7 and on Thanksgiving Monday October 9 plus Tuesday October 10.
There will also be some midnight departures on October 6 and 9 from both terminals on the Metro Vancouver-Victoria route (Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay) as part of the additional 90 sailings on BC Ferries for this long weekend.
The most popular travel times are expected to have been yesterday afternoon (October 5) and this afternoon Friday October 6, as well as tomorrow (Saturday) morning.
BC Ferries says the busiest day of the long weekend is likely to be Monday, October 9, with traffic returning to the mainland from the Departure Bay, Swartz Bay and Langdale terminals. Duke Point terminal tends to be less congested than Departure Bay, so customers returning to Vancouver from the Nanaimo area may consider travelling through the Duke Point terminal.
Parking lots at the major terminals may reach capacity at the height of the weekend, so public transit is suggested as an option for foot passengers.
Route info and sailing conditions: www.bcferries.com
Thursday, October 5 ~ VICTORIA & WEST SHORE AREA. One lane of travel in each direction returns to the Malahat.
Now that the summer peak travel period is over and traffic volumes are lower, the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) says it will be reducing the Malahat section of Highway 1 (Trans Canada) to one lane in each direction. That’s in the Malahat Village area between Aspen Road and Shawnigan Lake Road.
That traffic pattern change will take effect after the Thanksgiving long weekend and remain in place 24/7 until the May long weekend in 2018. MOTI says this will help ensure that blasting activities can be completed safely and to provide clear and consistent lanes for drivers through the project during the winter months when visibility is often reduced by weather conditions. Intermittent traffic stoppages are also required for blasting but will occur outside peak periods (6 a.m. to 9 a.m. southbound and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. northbound).
Drivers can still expect delays of up to 20 minutes during construction. The ministry asks motorists to please be attentive for workers and obey the construction speed zone of 60 kph at all times. Drivers are asked to use both lanes up to the merge point and then alternate when merging (like a zipper) for best efficiency. For current conditions and up-to-date traffic advisories: www.drivebc.ca
Improvements to the Malahat have been taking place in phases for the past couple of years. Adding meridians to separate northbound and southbound traffic has been a significant part of the work. In July 2016, $34 million was committed for the Malahat Safety Improvements project ($20,000 from BC and $14,000 in federal funds). An $18.5-million construction contract was awarded to Emil Anderson Construction Ltd for construction that began in spring 2017 and now runs through summer 2018.
Thursday, October 5 ~ COASTAL BC. Wow, travel takes time, especially on the busy Thanksgiving weekend!
And for some ferry customers there is the incentive to make it an early start on Friday and Saturday (October 6, 7) and Thanksgiving Monday plus Tuesday (October 9 and 10) when BC Ferries will be running 6am sailings. There will also be some midnight departures on October 6 and 9 from both terminals on the Metro Vancouver-Victoria route (Tsawwassen-Swartz Bay).
There will be 90 extra sailings overall on BC Ferries shops for the Thanksgiving long weekend.
The most popular travel times are expected to be this afternoon, October 5, and Friday afternoon October 6, as well as Saturday morning.
From experience, BC Ferries notes that the busiest day of the Long Weekend is likely to be Monday, October 9, with traffic returning to the mainland from the Departure Bay, Swartz Bay and Langdale terminals. Duke Point terminal tends to be less congested than Departure Bay, so customers returning to Vancouver from the Nanaimo area may consider travelling through the Duke Point terminal.
Parking lots at the major terminals may reach capacity at the height of the weekend, so public transit is suggested as an option for foot passengers.
Route info and sailing conditions: www.bcferries.com
Thursday, October 5 ~ BC. Addressing the issue of housing affordability and availability, this week BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver questioned housing Minister Selina Robinson on the BC NDP government’s intentions to take action to cool the housing market.
“Last week at UBCM the Premier indicated that his government’s solution to the problem of housing affordability is to simply add more supply,” Weaver said. Supply is required, but it goes deeper than that.
“Once more our government has missed the glaring problems on the demand side,” said Weaver. Weaver pointed out that when in opposition, Minister Eby (now Attorney General) was a fierce critic of the government’s failure to act, and argued that the bare trust loophole costs British Columbia hundreds of millions of dollars that could be used for affordable housing initiatives.”
Weaver is calling for the Horgan NDP government to “take action immediately to close the bare trust loophole that incentivizes speculation, discourages transparency and encourages property tax avoidance”.
Weaver is calling for bold solutions to the affordable housing crisis that is facing many communities. He is targeted the non-resident foreign buyer’s tax as something that should be extended to the entire province. The BC Greens are also calling for a ban on foreign ownership of ALR land over five acres, as a way to stem speculation and protect British Columbia’s food security.Weaver states the obvious: “The purpose of housing should be to provide homes for British Columbians – not a commodity that is wide open to international speculation.” He called it a “terrible reality” for people to be priced out of their own community due to real estate speculation.
Last week at UBCM, presenters armed with data in a presentation about the housing market argued that housing prices in Victoria and Vancouver will remain consistently high due to the desirability of people wanting to live in these urban areas of the BC coastal region.
In a presentation on September 25, Josh Gordon, Assistant Professor in Public Policy at SFU said there is “too much investment in the housing market” which is increasing transaction costs. “Private housing was never meant to be an investment vehicle,” said Gordon. As he was addressing municipal officials, he added: “No action by local authorities can have any impact on pricing.” He continued that housing prices have reached “unprecedented levels” in Vancouver and Victoria, but showed with housing trends data that squeezing regular homeowners out of the market is “not a Canada-wide issue”. Professor Gordon called it a “two-track market”. He left those in room a bit overwhelmed but arguably convinced.Last week at UBCM when Premier John Horgan in his speech to wrap up the conference on Friday morning tossed out a glib offer of manufactured homes (calling them ‘cans’) for municipalities to use for providing housing, it did offer supply. But it smacked of a ‘step down’ for people who have been pushed out of access to regular housing due to the bigger market forces that Weaver and the data-laden experts are talking about.
Municipalities like the City of Langford are keen to boost housing supply, having added about 500 to 600 homes (single family, townhome, condo, apartment rental and subsidized housing) per year in the past few years. Further, Langford Mayor Stew Young sees continued supply as a way to provide jobs and build the local and regional west shore economy, where businesses increasing flock to be part of the burgeoning economy there.
Wednesday, October 4 ~ LANGFORD. The full West Shore Parkway officially opened today. Feature by Mary P Brooke.
>> A significant achievement for the City of Langford, a milestone for Langford Mayor Stew Young, and a boon for the economy of the entire west shore region… today the opening of the full West Shore Parkway celebrated all that.
Under bright skies on this crisp fall day, about 300 people gathered along the brand new roadway and up close for the formal announcement. That was at 10 am. And around 11 am the full West Shore Parkway from the Trans Canada Highway (Hwy 1) over to Sooke Road (Hwy 14) saw its first through-traffic.
But not before a motorcade of classic cars took a symbolic first-drive on the newly-opened 3.5 km road. Leading the pack was Mayor Young, cruising in his pale blue 1956 Buick Special, nicely appointed and car-show ready. That was the end of the long-awaited, much-anticipated October 4 official opening event. Ahead of that there were speeches, acknowledgements and the ribbon-cutting.
Foremost was the reminder to all that the key success of this new roadway was an infrastructure partnership by three levels of government. The Government of Canada (by the work of then-MLA for Courtenay—Alberni, John Duncan), the Government of BC (under then-Minister of Transportation & Infrastructure Todd Stone), and the City of Langford (by way of developers in Langford) each contributed $7.5 million to the $22.5 million project.First announced as a go-ahead infrastructure project in July 2015, Stew Young was proud to proclaim today that the major engineering feat was achieved on budget and on time. He acknowledged the massive undertaking this project was for the late Victor Chen, former engineering manager with the City of Victoria, who passed away suddenly in August. Victor’s widow Joyce was part of the ribbon-cutting ceremony today, leading the 3-2-1 countdown of the ribbon cutting in Chinese.
“Thank you to the business community for stepping up and funding the Langford portion,” said Mayor Stew Young as part of his remarks at the microphone. “Opening this road creates a great economic opportunity for Langford. It gets people in car from workplace to home earlier, spending more time in your community with your families. And that’s what infrastructure is all about,” he said, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions with cars not idling as much in traffic congestion.
Mayor Young says the “next big project” is to “start to push to get that highway fixed into town” Young is promoting the need for high-occupancy lanes on Highway 1, to improve commuter travel times. “Let’s get some pressure and some support, and fix that highway for people living in the west shore.”“This is a complete community job,” said Stew Young about the completion of the West Shore Parkway. “We’re so excited about having this open and the cooperation with everybody—that’s how you get things done — working with business, working with government. And that’s how we’re going to continue doing things in Langford.”
“Enjoy the road. It’s a fantastic road. You’re going to like all the improvements,” said Young in wrapping up. “It’s one of the best connectors you’re going to drive in BC right now, with all the aesthetically beautiful things we’ve done with our roadways including artificial turf that we don’t have to water, saving the environment.” And with his trademark showmanship: “ Let’s get this thing open!”
City of Langford Director of Engineering Michelle Mahovlich set the vehicle procession in motion.
Also taking part in the event was Mitzi Dean, MLA (Esquimalt-Metchosin) representing Premier John Horgan (MLA, Langford-Juan de Fuca), saying “our government is committed to solving broader transportation challenges in our region”.Federal Infrastructure and Communities Minister Amarjeet Sohi was in Langford earlier this summer to see the West Shore Parkway construction in progress. On August 2 (one of the hottest days of the year) he took a tour of the construction site with Mayor Stew Young, saying it was an opportunity for him to see up close how federal infrastructure dollars are being spent.
Today Stew Young told media that “infrastructure dollars are coming west”. He noted how traffic growth in the region is increasing by about 2% to 3% per year, adding that the provincial government taking action to improve Highway 1 with HOV lanes and other improvements is action required now, not to be delayed with further studies.
Today’s official opening of the parkway was held by the non-used E&N Railway line where it crosses the parkway. To media, Young reiterated a view he’s held for some time, that shifting transportation issues from the non-profit area (presently E&N Railway issues are handled by the Island Corridor Foundation) to the provincial level is the right way to go now. And the federal government has funding for this, he added. “Getting the business community on side to show the importance of improved transportation” is important now.
Tuesday, October 3 ~ LANGFORD. The City of Langford will open the last segments of the new West Shore Parkway on Wednesday, October 4 at 11 am, following a 10 am ribbon cutting. Drivers in the area are asked to follow all signage and obey instructions of the Traffic Control Persons on site at all times.
This last connection of the 3.5km new West Shore Parkway will provide vehicle, cycling and pedestrian access from the Trans-Canada Highway 1 south to Sooke Road Highway14, and in doing so create a key north-south connection for the region.
The project has been funded through a New Building Canada Infrastructure grant, awarded in July 2015. The Government of Canada and Government of BC each contributed up to $7,450,856 through the Small Communities Fund, while the City of Langford was responsible for any remaining costs. In all, the total project value was $22.5 million.
Upon award of the grant, the City proceeded immediately to detailed design and construction of the parkway in segments, as some segments were already partially constructed, while others were not at all constructed. Of note, several local contractors were instrumental in the completion of this project for the City.
On the project, Langford Mayor Stew Young stated: “The City of Langford is very excited about the completion of the West Shore Parkway, which is the largest grant project completed in the City of Langford to date. The West Shore Parkway will improve traffic in and around
Langford and the West Shore, promote the development of a range of housing options and businesses, and provide residents with a number of transportation options via the new bike lanes, sidewalks and transit stops.”
MLA for Esquimalt-Metchosin Mitzi Dean on behalf of the BC Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena said: “This new connection between Highway 1 and Highway 14 provides a safe, alternative route for cyclists, pedestrians and drivers that will save everyone time when travelling between communities on the West Shore.”
The Federal Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, noted: “The Government of Canada is investing in road and highway infrastructure to improve traffic flow and public safety while supporting middle-class job creation and economic growth. I am pleased to see that our funding has made it possible to complete the West Shore Parkway, which will improve local connections to the TransCanada and create safer, more efficient commutes.”
Tuesday, October 3 ~ LANGFORD. It was another slam dunk for City of Langford Mayor Stew Young and his council last night, as they let the public have their way but in the end made a massive sweep of change for downtown Langford.
Frequently brief, Langford council meetings often wrap up in 15 to 20 minutes, with rapid-fire approval of sometimes a long list of Planning committee recommendations and zoning and variance approvals.
The October 2 meeting had that quick-approval pattern at the end. But the public hearing ahead of that lasted over an hour and a half. Mayor Young took heat for the discomfort that residents are feeling about the increasing cost of housing (the average sale price in September for a single family home in Langford was $710,110) and rental accommodation (now about $1,400 for a 1-bedroom rental apartment, or about $1,200 for just a studio), in-town traffic congestion, and protracted travel times for job commuters to areas of Greater Victoria beyond Langford.
It could be argued that Langford is now central to the Greater Victoria area, considering that population growth is ‘west-heavy’ into Langford, Colwood, and Sooke. About 500 to 600 housing units per year are built in Langford, and as many of those attract young families now even the schools are overflowing their students into portables and teacher shortages in SD62 are looming. And even that is apparently not enough to keep up with demand.
Long the pitch and hope of Stew Young that provincial government offices will eventually be built in Langford (as a key way to boost the tax base and reduce or eliminate commute times for workers), he’s been assembling the pieces for a long time. More housing, larger population, more immediate jobs in the region, attracting young families to the area, constructing another traffic route (West Shore Parkway, which fully opens this week), and pushing along BC Transit for more and better bus routes to and through Langford. Around the edges have been the other essential ingredients built such as town beautification and recreation.All of this the mayor provisioned to the crowd of about 120 people at Langford Council October 2, taking dozens of questions and getting a bit of raw feedback from residents angry about traffic congestion, loss of sunlight from higher buildings, noise, and the overall change to what Langford was to them.
Higher density is needed and actually appreciated by new residents who come to Langford for the relative affordability, the mayor explained. A new city core lifestyle has been evolving in Langford for a long time. The tipping point is now, as residents who knew Langford as a backwash to the Victoria core – but with the benefits of quiet, space and a slow pace – are feeling the transition-to-urban in real ways.
Several public comments noted how 300 more units being added in a development on Claude Road will cause further traffic congestion to Peatt Road which serves as a thoroughfare within and through Langford. As people move to the suburbs they are not abandoning their cars for use of the bus to the degree that transit planners would hope.As one resident summarized it… development is necessary for a growing city but it has to be done right. One suggestion was building townhomes instead of high rise apartments. But developers need a good return on their investment, especially as the City of Langford shifts the burden of road, sewer and other amenity development to the developers. The costs are shifted along by developers into the cost of housing for consumers.
All the ‘noise’ of the October 2 meeting – including a distraction about some buildings possibly being 12 storeys high — was a good cover allowing the public let off some steam — for the massive shift in the Official Community Plan (OCP) that Council approved thereafter … three areas of Langford that were beyond the town core (previously zoned ‘neighbourhood’) got 2nd and 3rd reading to be zoned City Centre (see pink areas on map – Bylaw 1738).
Some smaller adjacent areas in the OCP will be rezoned as Mixed Use Employment Centre, and Business or Light Industrial. Staff are to come up with a somewhat diminished building height maximum (not yet entirely specified) for the City Centre areas. This will allow for development of greater residential density and possibly office towers. Apparently the government office buildings won’t come until the population density has increased and is proximal to the office areas. Build it and they will come.At the tail end of the meeting, Mayor Young, Councillor Lanny Seaton, and Councillor Denise Blackwell left the room a few times (to avoid conflict of interest) over motions to pass developments on Meaford and Dunford and regarding a tax exemption for the Cherish Seniors Facility at Jacklin and Jenkins.
One member of the public had earlier noted that Langford Council listens but pushed things through anyway. It’s in this manner that Langford has been built to now a burgeoning town of over 40,000 people, poised as the shining urban jewel that puts Langford at the centre of it all.
Developer Jim Hartshorne of Keycorp Developments Ltd and developer Ron Coutre who is president of the West Shore Developers Association – both of whom stand much to gain by last night’s changes to Langford’s Official Community Plan — were present for what ended up being a 2-hour meeting on October 2 . Neither contributed any public comment.
Monday, October 2 ~ USA. A mass shooting in Las Vegas last night has taken the lives of at least 59 people and injured over 500. Investigators are surprised at the age of the shooter (64) who used automatic weapons to shoot randomly into a crowd that was attending an open-air rock concert. The shooter was found dead by self-inflicted injury in a tall building within range of the concert.
Sunday, October 1 ~ EDMONTON. Attack in Edmonton. A police officer and four others were taken to hospital in Edmonton on Saturday night September 30 following a violent rampage by a 30-year-old Somali immigrant man. Police say the man showed no active signs of terrorist recruitment or radicalization.
Today BC Premier John Horgan issued a statement, including: “I was shocked and saddened to learn of last night’s violent attacks against police and the people of Edmonton. British Columbians stand united with the people of Alberta – and all Canadians – against violence and hate in all its forms.”
Sunday, October 1 ~ NATIONAL. The federal NDP have a new leader. Today October 1, Jagmeet Singh won the NDP Leadership race on the first ballot with 53.8% of valid votes cast.
An Osgoode Law School graduate, Singh won with 35,266 votes. Overall turnout was 52.8 per cent of eligible NDP member voters.
Fundraising, polls and membership sign-ups suggested that Singh was on track for a strong first ballot result, though winning on the first ballot is an NDP feat only achieved in the past by Tommy Douglas and Jack Layton.
There were strong indications throughout the campaign that Singh’s support was largely being drawn from new members, though some seasoned MPs (like Randall Garrison, Esquimalt-Saanich-Sooke) were vocally supportive in recent weeks. Pre-existing members of the party opted largely for the other three leadership candidates — Charlie Angus, Niki Ashton and Guy Caron — who are sitting MPs and long-time party figures.
The NDP are obviously looking for new hope and a fresh start with a leader who brings new skills, talents and celebrity charm to the role. This will put Singh as the NDP leader up against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Liberal) and Andrew Scheer (Conservative) in the Fall 2019 federal election.
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